Both the Advocate and the Advertiser have brief stories describing yesterday's hearing of Naquin lawsuit. (Matthew Eastin was allowed to withdraw.) Both describe the the hearing and recount remarks by Judge Saunders to the effect that attorneys should stick to the main legal points of the case.
This is a delaying tactic and a legal tool being used to further the interests of BellSouth/AT&T and Cox. We still do not know who Elizabeth Naquin and is, who recruited her, and what she hopes to gain by frustrating the desires of the community in which she lives.
Law at this level is a matter of interpretation--though lawyers and judges seldom like to discuss it in these terms with laymen, no law simply "lays down the law" plainly and cleanly. Laws conflict in ways large and small and the terms they use are ambiguous. This case is mess because the law is a mess. It was written by a committee, and what's more the committee didn't agree on the purposes of the law, much less the mere technical matter of implementation which the case pretends to be about. The judges would no doubt like the case to be about the narrowest possible technical or even "hypertechnical" question. --The previous 3rd court panel, wrongly in my opinion, seized on an obscure legal meaning of the word "pledge" to decide the case. There is no reason to think the legislators understood that granting the community the right to "pledge" the assets of the utility company (which is the way the law reads) to mean the legal equivalent of "no pledge unless you are going broke" --which is the way the court decided the matter.
Judge Saunders insistence that the case should be about broader questions of law is, I hope, a good sign. The clearly stated purpose of the law is to enable local governments to go into the telecom business. To interpret the (un)Fair Act in the way the plaintiff does is attempt to make the business impossible. The law very clearly anticipates market rate loans. Should the court pull back and look at the whole purpose and tone of the law and what the law itself declares is its goal to be they will dismiss the suit .. and we can get on with the business of providing what the people voted for.