UPDATE 1-Courts take novel approach to Nortel Networks cash fight

Fri Mar 8, 2013 5:50pm EST
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* Wilmington, Toronto courts to jointly host trial

* Trial will determine how to split $9 bln

* Experts: Joint cross-border trial seems unprecedented

* Some question if the joint trial is workable

By Tom Hals

March 8 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge and a Canadian judge agreed on Friday to a joint, simultaneous trial to decide how to divide $9 billion from the liquidation of Nortel Networks, overruling objections that the unusual arrangement would lead to "chaos."

Kevin Gross, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in Wilmington, Delaware, told the parties on a conference call held jointly with a Canadian judge that the litigants should prepare for a trial late this year.

Administrators for former Nortel units in Europe had requested the judges send the matter to binding arbitration. They can appeal the ruling. Their lawyer, Derek Adler of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gross and Ontario Superior Court Justice Geoffrey Morawetz in Toronto have been overseeing the liquidation of the former telecoms giant, which once had a market value of $250 billion and global operations that employed 93,000.   Continued...