OpenBand Hearing Postponed; No Judge Appointed - Leesburg Today Online—Daily News Coverage of Loudoun County, Leesburg, Ashburn: News

March 29, 2015
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OpenBand Hearing Postponed; No Judge Appointed

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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:16 pm | Updated: 12:39 pm, Thu Feb 21, 2013.

The hearing scheduled for tomorrow afternoon in the $50 million lawsuit brought by telecommunications company OpenBand against two Loudoun supervisors and two of the homeowners' associations it serves has been continued.

Earlier this year all of Loudoun's judges recused themselves from the case because one of the defendants—a former board member of the Lansdowne on the Potomac HOA—is an attorney that regular appears in Loudoun court.

A request was sent to the Virginia Supreme Court to appoint a judge to hear the rest of the case, but one has not yet been appointed, according to one of the attorneys in the case. There had been rumors that retired Fairfax County Judge Terrance Ney had been appointed, but those proved to be false. Once a judge has been appointed, the hearing will be put back on the docket.

OpenBand’s $50 million lawsuit that names Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), Vice Chairman Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run), the Board of Supervisors, the homeowner’s association boards for the Southern Walk at Broadlands and Lansdowne on the Potomac and each of its members was filed in October saying the 16 defendants conspired to “engage in a consistent pattern” of actions that were beyond the powers of the Board of Supervisors during review of the franchise agreement. The lawsuit also states that Williams had a conflict of interest in reviewing the franchise agreement because prior to being elected to the Board of Supervisors he served on the Southern Walk HOA board and therefore “had a direct financial interest in the negotiations...”

From Buona and Williams OpenBand is seeking 18 types of documents that could generate thousands of papers. Included on the list are “all documents that constitute or refer to” communications about the OpenBand entities, those that refer OpenBand’s franchise to operate in the county, and those that refer to the assessment of video communications in Loudoun.

Motions have been filed objecting to those requests.

Welcome to the discussion.

9 comments:

  • The Operative posted at 2:31 pm on Sat, Feb 23, 2013.

    The Operative Posts: 207

    I know of at least two newer communities where OpenBand had the chance of obtaining new customers, but OpenBand lost their bid to serve in these new home communities. Even their own partner in crime Van Metre Homes tossed OpenBand from their Stone Ridge community and have refused to bring them in to the various new projects.

    in the most simplistic terms, if OpenBand had spent some of the nearly $4M in legal fees, towards improving their archaic network, maybe their customers wouldn't be suing them.

     
  • Frank Reynolds posted at 5:13 pm on Fri, Feb 22, 2013.

    Frank Reynolds Posts: 612

    I don't disagree with you Crankin. Was just pointing out that they OpenBand is probably done if they lose these lawsuits.

    I've always found it interesting that OpenBand offered its service nowhere else but where they had a monopoly on fiber/cable, with customers who were forced to pay. With all the new communities around here, you would think they would have laid some fiber somewhere else and tried to compete with Verizon and Comcast. Apparently competition was never part of their business strategy.

    Even more interesting was that some of those captive customers were still willing to pay for Dish Network or DirecTV on top of OpenBand. That doesn't say much for how satisfying your product was.

     
  • itscrankin posted at 4:58 pm on Fri, Feb 22, 2013.

    itscrankin Posts: 64

    @Frank:

    I can see your point here, but shouldn't a business that doesn't provide a satisfactory product at a reasonable price be allowed to go the way of the dinosaur? [smile]

    Were I involved in this fight, I might actually consider filing a suit against OpenBand's attorneys for malicious prosecution - as it does seem like the circumstances might fit.

    Perhaps instead of suing people for no good reason, OpenBand should consider using its limited resources to "reinvent" itself. Wouldn't all be better served here if OpenBand would try to transform themselves into an IPTV-based cable provider? This would open their territory up wide - to essentially anyone in the Greater DC area with a broadband connection who might consider "cutting the cord" but still wants access to things like ESPN, HGTV, etc. Put together a few bundles with attractive pricing, and watch the business grow.

    But, of course, that would require a bit of "out of the box" thinking on their part, and reorganization too. These are both things that might involve a bit more work than simply suing the citizens of Loudoun County and forcing a bunch of homeowners into submission.

     
  • Frank Reynolds posted at 4:18 pm on Fri, Feb 22, 2013.

    Frank Reynolds Posts: 612

    I left out that I have family over in Broadloands and have used OpenBand. The internet isn't bad, but the TV interface looked like something I last saw with Time Warner in NY in the 90's. No way I would pay what the homeowners there are forced to pay in an open market. I'd also never move over there. I may be looking for a single-family home in the next couple years. Anywhere in OpenBand's "shakedown" zone is off my list.

    Verizon is far from cheap, but my internet is fast and my TV signal is clear. Even better, I've never had to call in 5 years to get the service working for some unknown reason. Using Cox in Fairfax, I'd have to call every other month because the internet would mysteriously stop working until they reset something. Time Warner back in NY was similar.

     
  • John Mileo posted at 1:12 pm on Fri, Feb 22, 2013.

    John Mileo Posts: 46

    Simply stated...OpenBandit is the worse provider of cable television service I have ever had; and that covers about eight different CATV providers in over twenty plus years!

     
  • Buffacuse posted at 7:41 am on Fri, Feb 22, 2013.

    Buffacuse Posts: 532

    Frank, you've basically got it right but as an OpenBand customer I can tell you their chances of surviving would have been much better if they had allowed competition and not sued my HOA and the BOS. So now, on top of their mandatory rate structure which forces me to pay them even if I don't use their services, I'm paying HOA fees to attorneys to fight their nuisance lawsuit and paying taxes to the BOS to do the same. These guys clearly don't care how badly they hack us off and are trying to force themselves down our collective throats. Sure, they're trying to survive--but their version of survival is to maintain a sweetheart deal they cut with our developer that makes them immune from competition for upwards of 50 years.

     
  • Frank Reynolds posted at 8:02 pm on Thu, Feb 21, 2013.

    Frank Reynolds Posts: 612

    Well Crankin, OpenBand is fighting for its existence. Seeing it doesn't actually compete anywhere, and residents seem to think they stink, it doesn't look good for them if the HOAs aren't forced to pay them anymore.

    I want to see them lose, but I also understand why they are suing everyone in sight.

     
  • rdagg posted at 7:13 pm on Thu, Feb 21, 2013.

    rdagg Posts: 16

    As predicted by many, the multiple conflicts of interest held by the judges and lawyers in Loudoun County have caused justice to grind to a halt. So for a few more months at least, HOA members in Loudoun will continue to provide the full bundle of Services from Open Band to a whole bunch of empty homes. What a lame excuse by the Circuit judges.

     
  • itscrankin posted at 2:48 pm on Thu, Feb 21, 2013.

    itscrankin Posts: 64

    It's too bad that we're going to have to wait even longer to get this nuisance suit dismissed. OpenBand should be ashamed of themselves for dragging the BOS into their mess, and forcing Loudoun taxpayers to needlessly spend money on frivolous and sketchy claims.

    And filing lawsuits against homeowners associations sinks them to an even lower level, as this undoubtedly will cause HOA fees for the defendant associations to increase and/or service levels to decrease. Imagine a loving mother having to explain to her child that the pool had to close a month early this summer because the old Internet provider wanted to throw a tantrum. My association had to close its pool 1 week early last year due to budget shortfalls, and there was so much dissatisfaction over it that the Board received a petition with dozens of signatures from homeowners. OpenBand should be ashamed of themselves for putting families into situations like that.

    Disclaimer: I've never had OpenBand service, but from the details I've heard during this whole thing it sounds like they have a large number of dissatisfied customers. At present, I count myself among the lucky people who don't have to rely upon them for any type of service.