• On September 27, 2011, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted the request of Cable One motion to stay the case brought by Union Electric for unpaid pole-attachment charges and refer it to the FCC. As the trial court explained, Union Electric claims that Cable One breached the parties' licensing agreement, entered into under the terms of the Pole Attachment Act, by "offering voice over internet protocol (VoIP) telephone service, dedicated line data transport services, and E-rate services through attachments reported as for [cable television] use." Cable One defended on the ground that the FCC has never classified VoIP service as a telecommunications service under the Communications Act, and thus the court should either dismiss Union Electric's claims or refer the case to the FCC under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. The court agreed: "The classification of the services offered by defendant satisfies the two factors to be considered in applying the primary jurisdiction doctrine: (1) area of agency expertise and (2) promotion of uniformity and consistency." Cable One was ordered to file a status report with the Court in six months. Union Elec. Co. v. Cable One, Inc., No. 4:11-cv-299 CEJ (E.D. Mo.).
  • On September 22, 2011, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland denied, without prejudice, Verizon Maryland's motion for summary judgment on Core Communications' claim for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. The Maryland PSC had determined that Verizon acted in bad faith when it intentionally delayed action on Core's interconnection request. The District of Maryland reversed, but the Fourth Circuit overturned the reversal. As a result, the district court ordered briefing on that claim. After receiving the briefs, the Court issued an order stating that it agreed with Verizon that the claim cannot stand independently under Maryland law, but still refused to grant the motion because "[p]erhaps in a manner not now known to me, granting the motion would somehow affect defendant's claim for damages. Accordingly, plaintiff's motion is denied without prejudice to being renewed at a later stage of the litigation." Verizon Maryland, Inc. v. Core Commc'ns Inc., No. 08-503 (D. Md.).