| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Nov 1 Bankrupt LightSquared on Friday
sued leaders in the GPS industry, including Deere & Co
and Garmin International Inc, saying they kept mum
about interference concerns stemming from LightSquared's
wireless network until the company had already pumped $4 billion
into building it.
In a 65-page lawsuit in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York,
where LightSquared is fighting to keep control of its spectrum,
the company alleged that farm equipment maker Deere, and GPS
companies Garmin and Trimble Navigation Ltd led it to
believe its network would not interfere with global positioning
The complaint comes on the heels of a similar lawsuit
against the GPS industry by Phil Falcone's Harbinger Capital,
LightSquared's controlling shareholder.
Last month, LightSquared received permission from the
bankruptcy judge overseeing its Chapter 11 case to pause the
Harbinger lawsuit so that LightSquared could decide whether it
wanted to join the suit or bring claims of its own.
In Friday's filing, LightSquared says the companies made
"promises, agreements and representations" over the 10 years
that LightSquared spent building its network, all to the effect
that a wireless network would not cause interference with GPS
But in 2010, when LightSquared was close to deploying its
network, the GPS industry changed its tune, the lawsuit says. As
a result, the Federal Communications Commission revoked
LightSquared's license to operate its spectrum, and the company
was forced into bankruptcy in 2012.
"This case ... is about how those three GPS manufacturers
waited until those billions were invested in the necessary
network infrastructure before then breaking their prior
promises, reneging on their prior agreements, and disavowing
their prior representations," LightSquared says.
The lawsuit alleges that the only reason the interference
concerns exist is that the GPS devices encroach upon the
spectrum that LightSquared is licensed to operate. The
nine-count complaint, which also names industry groups the U.S.
GPS Industry Council and the Coalition to Save Our GPS as
defendants, alleges breach of contract, tortious interference
and other claims.
A spokesman for Deere declined to comment, while a
spokeswoman for Trimble did not immediately respond to a request
for comment. A representative for Garmin could not immediately
LightSquared's bankruptcy has become a messy fight for
control between Falcone and Charles Ergen, the chairman of DISH
Network Corp, which is making a hard push to acquire
the company's valuable spectrum.
The assets are likely to be auctioned off to the highest
bidder, with Dish having already made a baseline offer for some
of the spectrum.
LightSquared and its lenders have pushed competing proposals
for the parameters of a sale, while Harbinger has put forth a
plan that would restructure LightSquared without a sale. The
plans are being voted on by creditors.
Doug Smith, LightSquared's chief executive, in a statement
noted his company's "fiduciary duty" to "ensure that parties
understand all of the assets of our estates more specifically."
"The unfortunate reality is that this company unnecessarily
lost billions of dollars, and this lawsuit provides for
interested bidders the factual background between LightSquared
and the GPS industry," Smith said.
Last week, Ergen and Dish won dismissal of a lawsuit by
Harbinger that had accused them of amassing loans to become
LightSquared's biggest lender and then unlawfully using that
position to try to wrest control of the company.
In September, LightSquared's bankruptcy judge nixed one of
Harbinger's nominees to a committee to oversee the company's
auction, citing a possible bias against Dish. The woman, Donna
Alderman, had lost her job when Dish acquired her former
employer, and said in emails that she felt "screwed" by the