South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Cable Television Service Not Necessary Utility for Bankrupt
Description Appeals court agreed that a cable television service provider had no obligation to provide service as requested by a customer in Chapter 13. Utility providers must provide service, but cable service is not a necessary utility.
Topic Bankruptcy
Key Words Cable Television Service; Utility
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Darby filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Soon after, Time Warner ended Darby’s cable television service. He offered Time Warner a deposit to reinstate his service, but it refused. He then sued to compel Time Warner to reinstate service upon his offering adequate assurances of future payments. Time Warner argued that it was not a utility as defined under the Bankruptcy Code and so did not have to reinstate service. The bankruptcy court agreed, as did the district court. Darby appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. Cable television service is not a utility within the meaning of the Code, which protects debtors against termination of utility service. Cable is not a necessity for a minimum standard of living, so no service is due.

Citation Darby v. Time Warner Cable, 470 F.3d 573 (5th Cir., 2006)

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