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Dolan family asks Altice to restore News 12 staffing levels

The Dolan family requested the court to require Altice USA Inc. to restore staffing levels at News 12 to 462 for a five-year period and to appoint a third-party monitor to oversee compliance.

The request comes after U.S. Judge Joseph Slights III, Court of Chancery, State of Delaware, ruled that Altice will not be able to terminate the employment of any News 12 staffer without a "bona fide" cause or without obtaining prior approval from the court. News 12 is a group of regional cable news television channels serving nearly 3 million households in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.

The court has scheduled a trial for Sept. 4-6 on the matter.

The Dolan family, which owned Cablevision before its sale to Altice in 2016, filed a lawsuit in September 2018 against Altice for allegedly ignoring commitments it made when acquiring Cablevision. As part of the merger agreement, Altice had agreed to operate News 12 substantially in accordance with the News 12 business plan through the end of 2020. Altice had agreed to incur cumulative losses of up to $60 million in the operation of News 12 over this period to maintain the network's existing employee base.

Altice cut about 70 News 12 positions in 2017 and plans to cut dozens more, the Dolan family argued, leaving it in violation of the agreement. Altice has said the Dolan lawsuit is "completely without merit" and expressed a commitment to the News 12 group.