Advanced Television

SES claims Intelsat withholding vital documents

April 12, 2021

By Chris Forrester

Satellite operator SES is maintaining pressure on Intelsat and its lawyers over the upcoming trial between the two regarding the disputed division of FCC C-band incentive payments.

SES, in its filing to Intelsat’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy court on April 8th, asked the court to compel Intelsat to supply documents ahead of the trial. SES says that 3,240 Intelsat documents have been submitted and at least 12,423 documents withheld.

Intelsat, in its counter-motion, says that it has released more than 83,000 documents totalling more than 450,000 pages.

Intelsat is claiming Client/Lawyer confidentiality in denying SES the extra paperwork. Intelsat describes SES wording as “vitriolic” and an abuse of the legal system and the SES efforts as a “money grab”.

SES says that they and Intelsat have met and conferred extensively over the past two months “but the parties have reached an impasse with respect to [Intelsat’s] egregious abuse of attorney-client privilege.” They allege that Intelsat “continue to play games” while the “deadline for discovery closes in.”

In particular, SES wants the documents written by Bruno Fromont, Intelsat’s current CTO and former SVP of Strategy and Planning, and his communications with Intelsat Board members.

“[Intelsat is] actively preventing discovery of relevant, non-privileged deposition testimony as well as hundreds of relevant, non-privileged documents and communications that bear on central issues in this case. [Intelsat] cannot obstruct the discovery process by clinging to a flimsy and faulty claim of attorney-client privilege,” claims SES in its filing.

The court had set February 26th for the two parties to have completed most of the document discovery process. But SES argues that there are “hundreds, if not thousands, of non-privileged documents” remaining and deliberately withheld by Intelsat.

“Intelsat’s board members were actively involved in the very agreement that is the heart of this billion-dollar dispute—from initial negotiations all the way to the bitter end of Intelsat’s repudiation. The sheer weight and volume of these documents and communications is clear, and only adds to the urgency of this hearing,” alleges SES.

SES states that the formal depositions of Intelsat’s senior managers and general counsel is due to start this week on April 15th. SES clams that without a full portfolio of documentation it will be unfairly placed and impeded from its litigation.

SES is asking for its motion to be heard on April 14th by the court.

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