A U.S. District Court judge has issued an order to stay a Comcast Corp. complaint filed against billing provider CSG Systems until both sides can issue a status report on their ongoing arbitration.
The freeze is the latest skirmish to play out during long battle between Englewood, Colo.-based CSG and AT&T Broadband — which Comcast acquired in November — over a 15-year billing services contract between the two parties.
Comcast filed the suit on Nov. 15, 2002 in U.S. District Court's Pennsylvania Eastern District, claiming it is not bound by the 15-year master subscriber agreement CSG forged with AT&T Broadband in 1997. The suit argues the agreement should be terminated and a new one renegotiated.
But CSG has countered, charging that the MSO doesn't have the legal power to back out of the contract. It filed a motion to stay Comcast's suit, arguing the dispute should remain in arbitration, rather than being decided in district court.
District Court Judge John Fullam appeared to agree with that argument and granted the stay. The judge has ordered both sides to submit a status report periodically on the arbitration proceedings. The next round of arbitration hearings is tentatively scheduled to kick off May 5.
"Our contract clearly lays out a dispute resolution process. We believe this stay helps validate this process, and we are pleased with the judge's decision," said Joseph Ruble, CSG's senior vice president for corporate development and general counsel, in a release.