A federal judge in Los Angeles has issued a preliminary injunction requiring
Verizon Media Ventures Inc. to keep and operate its Ventura County, Calif.,
cable system until the conclusion of a lawsuit brought by the city of Thousand
Oaks and Ventura County.
The order stalls the acquisition of the system by Adelphia Communications
Corp., also a target of the suit by the local governments.
Judge Audrey B. Collins of the U.S. District Court for the Central District
of California granted the injunction sought by the governments, ruling that the
city and county are ultimately likely to succeed on the merits of their
The city and county alleged that Verizon and Adelphia both violated their
franchises and local codes by entering the deal without the prior approval of
'The court has no doubt that it will be difficult and expensive for Verizon
and Adelphia to unwind their transaction at this late date. However, by keeping
the transfer a secret until its effective date, defendants ran the risk that
they would be forced to undo what they have done so far. Accordingly, the court
gives little weight to the hardship that will be endured by defendants as a
result of granting injunctive relief,' the judge wrote after an April 12 show
Collins previously issued a temporary restraining order on the same
Her 17-page order prevents Verizon from transferring control of the system to
Adelphia until the case is settled. Also, Adelphia must return any assets
already acquired from Verizon.
After the deal was announced Feb. 28, some cable customers were told that
they must switch to the new owner, and the court order mandates that Adelphia
give them the same service level, at the same price, that they would be charged
if they hadn't switched from Verizon.
Adelphia is expected to appeal.
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