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Verizon seeks to toss NorthPoint claim

Lawyers for Verizon Communications are planning to try to convince a San Francisco judge that a fraud claim against the company should be thrown out.

Lawyers for Verizon Communications will try to convince a San Francisco judge on Friday that a fraud claim against the company should be thrown out.

The charge stems from Verizon's decision to back out of a planned acquisition of NorthPoint Communications. Verizon and NorthPoint announced a deal in August 2000 to merge their digital subscriber line businesses to form a new broadband communications company.

But Verizon changed its mind in November 2000, citing "deterioration" in NorthPoint's business operations. NorthPoint eventually filed for bankruptcy and its assets were acquired by AT&T.

The breakup sparked lawsuits between the two companies. NorthPoint claims Verizon breached its contract and committed fraud, saying the telecommunications company never intended to complete the deal, according to Michael Kahn, attorney for the NorthPoint estate.

Verizon has filed a motion for summary judgment on the fraud claim, arguing in court documents that NorthPoint can't establish any fraudulent intent.

A jury trial will hear the breach of contract claim later this month in San Francisco.