Brian provides counsel on regulatory compliance and transactional opportunities in an area of law marked by innovation and continually evolving laws and regulations. He advises and represents municipal entities across the nation, established companies, new businesses, and trade associations in their complex contract negotiations and regulatory proceedings. His high-profile achievements include serving as communications law counsel to the cities of Seattle and Chicago.

Representing local units of government throughout the country on communications issues is a major practice focus for Brian. His counsel to more than 250 municipalities in 26 states over the past three decades includes advising on communications regulations, policy, and related federal and state regulatory issues.

Brian regularly presents at state and national conferences on cable communications, emphasizing franchise renewals, right of way management, and conduit and pole attachment contracting. Brian’s experience in helping shape needs assessment reports makes him uniquely qualified to advise on the franchise renewal process.

Brian also advises and represents broadband service providers, content providers, and enhanced service providers in contract negotiations, sales and marketing disputes, and cybersecurity compliance. In the broader area of technology, Brian works with businesses that make or use technology as part of their core operations, including hardware and software vendors, publishers, and principals in third-party resale agreements. He represents clients in information technology services transactions and the purchase, sale, and licensing of technology, as well as in technology-related disputes.

Brian serves on Moss & Barnett’s board of directors and as its president and CEO.

Experience

  • Long-term communications counsel to Seattle. Our decade-long counsel to the city of Seattle includes the following communications law issues:
    • Serving as lead counsel to negotiate and complete renewal of Comcast Communication’s cable franchise
    • Serving as lead counsel to negotiate and complete renewal of the Millennium Digital Media cable franchise and subsequent transfer of control
    • Drafting agreements for the city to create “Arts Zone” funding for a public, educational, and governmental (PEG) channel
    • Creating a trademark for the “Arts Zone” in Seattle
    • Drafting fiber construction agreements for the city
    • Acting as counsel in an 800-megahertz rebanding proceeding with the FCC and Sprint Nextel
    • Resolving a 2012 transfer and bankruptcy action involving Broadstripe Communications, which resulted in a $750,000 settlement for the city
    • Redrafting the code of ordinances related to the city’s regulation of cable and communications services

Seattle’s population exceeds 500,000 and cable operators serve nearly 200,000 subscribers. Moss & Barnett lawyers work closely with the city attorney’s office and Seattle’s Department of Information and Technology to negotiate successful solutions on behalf of the city.

  • Precedent-setting denial of cable franchise renewal. Moss & Barnett represented the city of Sturgis, Kentucky, which became the first municipality in the country – and one of only three under the Federal Cable Act – to deny successfully a cable operator’s request for franchise renewal. We successfully argued that the cable operator’s proposal was not reasonable to meet the future cable-related needs and interests identified by the city. Brian represented Sturgis throughout the renewal process and personally prepared its needs assessment report, which the federal district court cited extensively in upholding the city’s denial. Union CATV, Inc. v. City of Sturgis, et al., No. 4:95‑CV-72-M (U.S. Dist. Ct., W. Dist. of Ky. at Owensboro, Dec. 29, 1995); Union CATV, Inc. v. City of Sturgis, Kentucky, 107 F.3d 434 (6th Cir. 1997).
  • Web hosting services agreements. Brian advises Moss & Barnett’s accounting firm clients, many of which have large regional or national client bases, on web hosting services agreements. In one transaction, Brian advised on the creation of a master service agreement (MSA) that called for construction of a dedicated third-party data center to host and support our client’s applications. He structured the MSA to allow the accounting firm’s clients to have exclusive use of the data center infrastructure, with appropriate service-level obligations and payment terms structured to meet the client’s objectives.
  • Contracts creating a client interactive site. Moss & Barnett assisted in the development of contract documents required to create a client interactive site, which allows the client’s personnel to collaborate and communicate with its clients. The site was designed to integrate, manage, and maintain customer information systems, including marketing, sales, contracts, inventory, order management, purchasing, projects, billing, the call center, and field service. The client’s existing information systems were not integrated and therefore created data discrepancies. We assisted in creating the underlying documents to provide an integrated information system. Brian's work included review and preparation of documents to create the required functionality, business rules, and liability protections.

Credentials

Education

William Mitchell College of Law, J.D.; editor, William Mitchell Law Review

Creighton University, B.A., Mathematics

Admissions

  • Minnesota

Honors & Recognitions

Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® (2000-present)

News & Insights

Speaking Engagements

Publications

Affiliations

Professional Associations

  • Known as a respectful and determined advisor, negotiator, and problem solver, Brian actively participates in communication and technology organizations.
  • Numerous speaking engagements before the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) as well as the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA)
  • Former chairperson, Minnesota State Bar Association – Communications Law Section
  • American Bar Association, Forum Committee on Communications Law
  • IMLA – Contracts, Franchises, and Technology Section
  • National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (1990-present)
  • Minnesota Telecom Alliance, Associate member
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