METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE v. TELEPORT COMMUNICATIONS AMERICA, LLC - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Nov 29, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

William L. Harbison and John L. Farringer, IV, Nashville, Tennessee, and, Hans J. Germann, Chicago, Illinois, for the appellant, Teleport Communications America, LLC.

Attorneys 2:

Jon Cooper, Director of Law, Law Department of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, J. Brooks Fox and Lora Barkenbus Fox, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County.

Judge(s): SWINEY

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (“Metro”) sued Teleport Communications America, LLC (“TCG”) in the Chancery Court for Davidson County (“the Trial Court”) to recover a fee for TCG’s use of Metro’s public rights-of- way. TCG contended the fee was unlawful and refused to pay. Metro and TCG previously had entered into a franchise agreement in keeping with an ordinance requiring telecommunications providers to pay 5% of their gross revenues to Metro. The Tennessee Court of Appeals later ruled in another case against an ordinance purporting to set a gross revenue franchise fee as being akin to a tax. The Trial Court cited this holding to invalidate the ordinance in the present case. Metro nevertheless pursued this action further, seeking to recover under a contractual theory. After extensive litigation, the Trial Court found that TCG owed damages to Metro in the amount of $550,000. The Trial Court reasoned that even though the underlying ordinance was invalid, the parties had entered into a franchise agreement and Metro was entitled to some measure of compensation. TCG appealed. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.