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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

SITA and Exxon Hope to Upend a Landlord’s Suit

DALLAS (CN) - SITA, the air transport information technology company, and Exxon Mobil want a judge to toss claims over their use of telecommunications infrastructure.

Unified 2020 Realty Partners says it owns a 12-story office building in downtown Dallas at 2020 Live Oak Street that serves as a major interconnection point and gateway to the Internet. As a Mission Critical Facilty, its building allegedly provides an abundance of fiber connectivity and power infrastructure that are critical to the operation of large telecommunications networks.

In a 2011 complaint against SITA and Exxon, Unified claimed that the due took up the space previously leased to its 10th floor tenant, Equant.

Equant, a France Telecom subsidiary now known as Orange Business Services, allegedly refused to vacate the property though Unified informed it several times of breaches of their lease agreement. Unified says SITA and Exxon has no right to the space, and there are no lease agreements in place.

Unified sued Equant and France Telecom months before it sued SITA and Exxon in Dallas County Court.

"The SITA defendants and Exxon made unauthorized and unpaid fiber cross-connections with various telecommuncations carriers, including but not limited to AT&T of Texas, TCG-Dallas, Verizon, XO Communications and Level 3," according to the later complaint. "These connections occurred by and through the use of conduit and infrastructure owned by plaintiff and its predecessor carriers for which neither Equant or defendants paid."

Unified says it conducted an independent, third-party audit of the unauthorized infrastructure use and determined $1 million in damages.

On Thursday, the defendants asked Judge Gena Slaughter to dismiss the suit on the basis of partial summary judgment motion Equant filed in October. The defenses spelled out in that motion also defeat the claims asserted against SITA in this action, they said.

"Accordingly, SITA hereby incorporates the legal grounds and evidence made by Equant, as if set forth fully herein," the three-page motion states. "For those reasons, and on the basis of that evidence, Unified's claims in this lawsuit must fail as a matter of law and based on the undisputed evidence."

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