Advanced Television

SES vs. Intelsat: Document discovery court motions

April 6, 2021

By Chris Forrester

A series of motions filed into Intelsat’s bankruptcy court on March 31st asks the court to place under formal seal the document flow following on from Intelsat’s requests for SES to supply its correspondence with the then joint legal advisors to the C-Band Alliance (Hogan Lovells US LLP).

The motion from Intelsat’s lawyers states that Intelsat and SES have “engaged in voluminous document discovery” as part of a legal action started by SES and alleging that Intelsat had not divided the FCC’s C-band incentive payments fairly.

Intelsat’s motion admits that many of the documents now being revealed are either Confidential or Highly Confidential. Intelsat is asking the court to keep this confidential information secret and under seal.

Intelsat’s lawyers argue that SES has “withheld or redacted 2,268 post-engagement communications with Hogan Lovells”. Intelsat wants to see the correspondence. At the time, Hogan Lovells was acting on behalf of the C-Band Alliance and both Intelsat and SES as members of the Alliance.

SES is seemingly depending on lawyer-client privilege in not releasing almost 1000 communications between it and Hogan Lovells.

The application is due to be heard by the court on April 14th as part of a wider omnibus hearing of Intelsat matters.

Also due to be heard will be SES’s demands that Intelsat produce all of its EVP/General Counsel Michelle Bryan’s texts. SES is blunt, saying: “Intelsat does not dispute that Ms. Bryan is one of the most critical witnesses in this case, including with respect to Intelsat’s brazen and bad faith decision to renege on its contractual and fiduciary obligations to SES in an attempt to steal $450 million from SES. Nor does Intelsat dispute that Ms. Bryan used text messages to communicate with other executives and Intelsat Board members about issues central to this case. Despite those admissions, Intelsat refuses to produce Ms. Bryan’s text messages on the dubious basis that reviewing and producing such text messages would be too burdensome for Intelsat in a litigation in which SES seeks $1.8 billion in damages from Intelsat. Intelsat’s position is simply untenable.”

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