Monday, June 11, 2001

Lebanon might drop Time Warner lawsuit

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — The city may drop its lawsuit against Time Warner Cable this week — almost two years and more than $100,000 in legal fees after filing it.

        “We just need to put it behind us,” Councilman James Reinhard said.

        City Council will consider legislation Tuesday night to end its fight in exchange for Time Warner dropping its countersuit. The city would pay $3,500 to compensate for cutting some of the company's cable lines.

Fees mount
               Lebanon also has spent more than $100,000 for outside attorneys on the case, City Attorney Mark Yurick estimated.

        The city sued Time Warner in June 1999, alleging it had not lived up to the promise in its franchise agreement to build a network connecting all government and school buildings in Lebanon.

        Time Warner sued over the fact that the city is both its regulator and its competitor, given that Lebanon sells cable access through its own citywide telecommunications system.

        The city's suit suffered a major setback in March, when U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith ruled that the franchise agreement's penalty of $100 per day for Time Warner violations is not enforceable.

Nothing to gain
               “That being the case, at this point it's not worth pursuing,” Mr. Yurick said. “If we prove they violated the franchise but we don't have any damages, we'd have what could only be described as a Pyrrhic victory.”

        Time Warner spokeswoman Jennifer Mooney declined to comment on the lawsuit: “It'll be good when we can put this behind us, but we're not there yet.”


               • What: Lebanon City Council meeting.

        • When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

        • Where: City building.


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