Thursday, November 10, 2005

BellSouth Lawsuit "without merit"

Flash:
In a written opinion, Judge Conque has found that BellSouth's most recent lawsuit is "without merit." BellSouth had asked the court to invalidate the bond ordinance passed by the city-parish council that would govern the issuance of bonds and the conditions under which the bonds would be repaid. This ruling affirms the legality of the ordinance and the methods the city-parish and LUS intend to use to repay those bonds.

The ordinance to which BellSouth is objecting, incidentally, is the same "proposition" that Lafayette voters approved by 24 percentage points. It's not just the judgment of the council that BellSouth is questioning it is the judgment of the people of Lafayette.

The ruling, forwarded by a happy reader, makes clear that Judge Conque found BellSouth's arguments were, as we outside the lawyer's guild might say, "a real stretch." BellSouth wanted to proceed with an interpretation of "pledge" that would result in LUS meeting its pledge only by going into full "default" first. But, the judge pointed out, that's not the way the underlying Louisiana law works--there's nothing that prevents anyone from making a contractual agreement to pay off a debtor using revenues without throwing the whole enterprise into default. (What the judge judiciously refrains from pointed out is that such an assertion is absurd and would make hash of the idea of a loan (which is all a bond is) secured by assets.)

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