Judge Shannon Frison has issued a temporary order blocking the sale of the New England Media Group, which includes the Globe, to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry as newspaper carriers, the judge said, are likely to win a lawsuit against the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, another newspaper that is part of the sale.
"The plaintiffs have a likelihood of success on the merits of their claims," the judge wrote, claiming the current owners of the media group, The New York Times Company, should set aside enough funds to cover the lawsuit's claims before the sale takes place.
The Boston Globe reported Wednesday that the judge wants the Times Co. to set aside at least $60 million or become a defendant in the lawsuit.
One way or another, the Times needs to anticipate the possibility that the Worcester newspaper will lose the lawsuit and be prepared "to satisfy a judgment at the maximal end of its foreseeable range -- at least $60 million,'' the judge wrote.
The independent carriers sued the newspaper, claiming they were treated like contractors, when they should have been treated like employees.
The Globe reported Wednesday that Henry has agreed to pay $70 million for the New England Media Group.
An attorney for the Times Co. has requested the judge guarantee the outcome of the lawsuit through assets owned by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and not the Times or the Globe.
"We're awaiting the judge's ruling,'' said Times Co. spokeswoman Abbe Serphos.