SES vs Intelsat: Down to the details

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The long-running dispute between SES and Intelsat over the SES claim for a full 50 per cent share of the FCC’s C-band accelerate incentive payments is now getting to the focal point in their arguments.

Intelsat’s lawyers submitted 134 pages of Exhibits that they depend on and potentially used to support their rebuttal of the SES claim on January 12th.

The litigants will start the process with a pre-trial Zoom conference on February 2nd prior to the trial actually starting on February 7th.

Lawyers for Intelsat are arguing that the SES action fails “because the plain language of the Consortium Agreement makes clear that the accelerated relocation payments SES seeks to recover fall outside of the Agreement’s proceed-sharing obligations.” They add that the SES claim fails as a matter of law, stating: “The Consortium Agreement expressly disclaims any fiduciary duties among the parties. SES also cannot pursue an unjust enrichment claim where a contract covers the subject matter of the dispute—nor would it make any legal or logical sense to deem a payment explicitly dictated by a federal agency order to somehow be ‘unjust enrichment’.”

The Intelsat legal team says that SES’s punitive damages claim, which has already been reduced, fail “because they are barred by the Agreement’s limitation on liability and are not available on the claims SES asserts here in any event.”

Intelsat’s lawyers say: “SES has no claims against any entity other than Intelsat US LLC—the actual counterparty to the Agreement.”

This final element is certainly contentious and while Intelsat US LLC is the party which negotiated the FCC agreement, it has been argued that other Intelsat entities are potentially also involved. The trial judge will have to decide which Intelsat businesses are actually involved in the Consortium Agreement and dealings with the FCC – and receiving the FCC’s payments.

SES submitted its pre-trial evidence list on January 10th with a similar list of testimony and depositions that it intends calling. The evidence list is comprehensive, but public access is very limited and filed under seal.


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