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Another Case Delays Rosie, G+J Trial

After more than a year of waiting, Rosie O'Donnell and Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing must wait at least one more day to meet in a Manhattan courtroom and begin hashing out dual breach-of-contract lawsuits brought about by the demise of Rosie magazine, a joint venture between the two parties.

Though the trial was to begin today, state Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman was delayed by another case, G+J spokeswoman Sue R.E. Geramian said.

It was unclear how long the delay might last.

Each side contends the other violated the agreement that produced Rosie as a replacement for the ailing McCall's magazine in April 2001. Termination of that agreement was announced Sept. 18, 2002, after months of feuding between the two sides over editorial control of the publication. The final issue of Rosie appeared on newsstands shortly after Nov. 12, 2002.

After the termination announcement, G+J struck first, filing a $100 million lawsuit against O'Donnell for pulling out on Oct. 1. O'Donnell countered two days later with a suit against G+J.

Media reports suggest that circulation data may come into play in the trial. The Wall Street Journal reported that O'Donnell's representation could argue that a preliminary statement of Rosie's average newsstand circulation for the first six months of 2002 was 407,500 when a later audit by the Audit Bureau of Circulations showed a circulation of 278,935 per issue.

However, the publisher contended that the estimates were legitimate in a statement that read in part, “While the first half estimate of 2002 was aggressive, with a plan in place for a new editor, we anticipated stronger numbers for the 2nd half. The numbers we were anticipating for the second half of the year were viewed as achievable and we were confident we would make rate base for the year.”

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