A U.S. District Court judge has issued an order to freeze a Comcast Corp.
complaint filed against billing provider CSG Systems International Inc. until
both sides can issue status reports on their ongoing arbitration.
The ruling is the latest in a long battle between Englewood, Colo.-based CSG
and AT&T Broadband -- which was acquired by Comcast in November -- over
their 15-year billing-services contract.
Comcast filed the suit in November in the U.S. District Court's Pennsylvania
Eastern District, claiming that it is not bound by the 15-year master-subscriber
agreement CSG forged with AT&T Broadband in 1997.
The suit argued that the agreement should be terminated and a new one
But CSG has fought that move, saying 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 that 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 he
granted the stay Monday. He has ordered both sides to submit a status report
periodically on the arbitration proceedings.
The next round of arbitration hearings is set to begin May 5.
"Our contract clearly lays out a dispute-resolution process. We believe this
stay helps to 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.