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Defendants ask for Shentel suit dismissal

By Sally Voth - svoth@nvdaily.com

A Connecticut company being sued by Edinburg-based Shentel Converged Services Inc. is arguing the federal court in Harrisonburg doesn't have jurisdiction over the case.

Shentel filed suit in U.S. District Court in March against CH 17 LLC, saying the property company owed it more than $100,000 in Internet fees.

The telecommunications firm merged with NTC in 2007. NTC had a 10-year agreement with Greater Greensboro Investment Properties to provide Internet services to 223 apartments for North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University students, according to the civil complaint.

CH 17 bought the apartment complex in November 2010, and was aware of the service agreement, the complaint states.

"Shentel has continued to comply with all material terms of the Services Agreement and has satisfied any and all conditions precedent to enforcement of the Services Agreement," the suit says.

With the complex having 682 bedrooms, CH 17 should be paying Shentel $9,207 every month for Internet service, according to the suit.

The bulk rate price is much less than what retail Internet prices are, it says.

CH 17 hasn't made its monthly payments in a year, and also owes a $138 late fee, the complaint says. It now owes Shentel about $98,700, it says, plus $1,724 for installing 13 static IP addresses in June.

CH 17 filed a motion to dismiss the suit on May 7, according to online court records.

In an accompanying brief, the defendants state that when the complex, called River Walk, was sold to CH 17, the sale "did not include an assumption of any existing service contracts for River Walk."

"Specifically, Defendant was not required to assume and expressly did not assume the Internet Services Agreement with NTC," it states.

CH 17 sent a notice to Shentel in November 2010 stating it wasn't assuming the agreement, which it claims was never recorded, according to the brief. It states Shentel continued to provide the services on a month-to-month basis.

While the two companies discussed a possible new contract, CH 17 continued to pay Shentel, "until negotiations between Plaintiff and Defendant failed," according to the brief.

The federal court in Harrisonburg doesn't have jurisdiction because it hasn't done business in Virginia nor had sufficient minimum contacts in the commonwealth, the brief states.

U.S. District Judge Michael F. Urbanski has scheduled a jury trial for next March, according to court records.

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