On Monday, a bankruptcy judge granted Windstream Holdings a temporary restraining order against Charter Communications' advertising campaign that targeted its subscribers.
The judge ruled from the bench yesterday with a written order to follow, according to a Windstream spokesman. On April 5, Windstream filed a federal lawsuit against Charter that said Charter was engaging in a "scare-tactic campaign" to entice Windstream subscribers to switch to Charter.
Charter declined to comment on the judge granting the temporary restraining order for its ad campaign.
Little Rock, Arkansas-based Windstream, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, filed the lawsuit with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York.
Windstream said in its filing that Charter, which filed for its own bankruptcy protection back in 2009, used envelopes that "copied the same distinct color pattern from Windstream’s current advertising campaign" and its trademarked name to imply that Windstream would not be able to provide services to its subscribers.
“Charter through its brand Spectrum, commenced a scare-tactic campaign to mislead, deceive, and confuse consumers regarding the reason, status, and consequences of Windstream's Chapter 11 cases,” the Windstream complaint stated. “Charter disseminated false advertisements, directly targeting Windstream’s strongest customer bases in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Nebraska, and North Carolina. With a clear intent to deceive, Charter’s advertisements were sent to Windstream’s customers in a manner designed to make customers believe that the communication was from Windstream.”
Windstream filed a temporary restraining order against Charter and a preliminary injunction "to enjoin a false and misleading advertising campaign that was commenced by its direct competitor, Charter, to deceive Windstream’s customers into believing that Windstream is liquidating and will no longer be providing them services."
According to a story by Law360, Charter filed its own brief last Thursday with the New York bankruptcy court that said, in part, that its ad campaign repeated what Windstream had said about its restructuring in a March 15 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Charter said in its filing with the bankruptcy court that the advertising campaign was over, according to Law360.
In February, Windstream lost a legal battle with New York hedge fund Aurelius Capital Management over whether Windstream had defaulted on bonds by spinning off Uniti Group four years ago. Windstream filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
Windstream announced the same month that it had received a commitment from Citigroup Global Markets for $1 billion in debtor-in-possession financing. Windstream said that upon approval by the bankruptcy court, it would have enough cash on hand to meet its operational needs and "continue operating its business as usual."