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BVU-Bristol trial set for November 2021

BVU-Bristol trial set for November 2021

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ABINGDON, Va. — A federal judge has set a mid-November 2021 trial date for Bristol, Virginia’s lawsuit against BVU Authority.

U.S. District Judge James P. Jones will preside over a jury trial Nov. 15-19 to hear the city’s claim that BVU Authority owes it $6.5 million from the proceeds of its 2018 sale of its former OptiNet division, court documents show.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent issued the order Sept. 3, following a conference call with attorneys from both sides. If neither party requests any changes within 10 days, it will serve as the scheduling order.

The order includes a proposed schedule for motions, hearings and a series of deadlines for filing discovery information, expert witness information, witness lists and questions and instructions for jurors.

The city filed its complaint in late July, alleging that BVU incorrectly used $13 million from its sale of the former telecommunications division to resolve internal debt — loans from its electric division to the OptiNet division.

The city claims it is owed half that amount under the terms of a transition agreement signed by officials from both sides.

In its response, BVU asks the court to rule that the transition agreement is void, the money was used properly to pay off that debt and no proceeds remain to split with the city.

This case was originally filed in Bristol Virginia Circuit Court but moved to federal court last month.

On Aug. 11, City Council approved shifting more than $194,000 in unexpended funds earmarked for “professional services” under the city attorney’s allocation from the 2019-20 budget to the 2020-21 spending plan. That money will be used to pay the expenses of the Washington, D.C.-based law firm that is handling the city’s case. | 276-645-2532 | Twitter: @DMcGeeBHC |

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