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Appeals court sides with FPL in Verizon dispute

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(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A state appeals court Wednesday sided with Florida Power & Light in a dispute about how much money the former Verizon Florida should pay to use the electric utility's poles.

A panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal upheld a Miami-Dade County circuit judge's ruling that Verizon Florida, now known as Frontier Florida LLC, should pay nearly $2.6 million in damages to FPL.

The appeals court said the companies had operated under an agreement since 1975 about payments for the use of each other's poles. In 2012, Verizon started paying about 25 percent of the amounts included in invoices submitted by FPL, the decision said.

FPL filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit seeking to collect the remaining amounts.

"Upon our review, we conclude that the trial court properly determined that there were no material facts in dispute; that the agreement under which the parties had operated for more than 35 years was a valid contract; that FPL had complied with the material terms of the agreement; that Verizon failed and refused to make the required payments invoiced by FPL pursuant to the agreement; and that Verizon's actions constituted a breach of its obligations under the agreement, resulting in damages as set forth in the final judgment," said Wednesday's three-page ruling, written by appeals-court Judge Kevin Emas and joined by judges Vance Salter and Ivan Fernandez.