Share this article:

A Superior Court judge in Los Angeles has granted the Los Angeles Times’ request for a “temporary protective order” against Santa Ana-based Freedom Communications Holdings Inc.’s flagship Orange County Register.

The move is intended to provide a safeguard for the Times as it pursues a claim that the Register owes it about $2.46 million for unpaid distribution services. The Times is seeking a $4.24 million judgment, which would include damages. The Register switched vendors in October in a move that has caused significant disruptions to its delivery service.

Get the latest OC business and Coronavirus updates

The court order prevents the Register—which is seeking to sell off a parcel of land near its office—from disposing of the “proceeds of any transfer of inventory ... held for sale.” The suit also lays claim on publication’s bank accounts, real property, trust accounts and insurance policies.

The Register is allowed to write checks to meet payroll obligations, pay taxes and its legal fees.

The court found on Dec. 4 that “great or irreparable injury” to the Times could result if the order was not issued because “there is danger that the property sought to be attached would be concealed,” or “substantially impaired in value” or “ made unavailable to levy.”

The court also found that the “defendant has failed to pay the debt underlying the requested attachment and is insolvent.”

The protective order is good for 40 days from the Dec. 4 date of its issue.

"While we are facing numerous challenges, including the LA Times aggression, we are encouraged by several positive developments that are in progress," said Freedom's Chief Executive Aaron Kushner. "We look forward to presenting our claims for the damage caused by the LA Times."