The battle over the services of BellSouth Vice Chairman Gary Forsee raged on Monday in a Fulton County, GA courtroom.

Judge Stephanie Manis ruled that the dispute between Sprint and BellSouth be settled by arbitration but, according to Sprint, also opened the door for the company to hire Forsee as its new chief executive officer.

The ruling “should enable Sprint to proceed in naming” Forsee as its CEO at the end of the 30-day arbitration period decreed by the judge, Sprint said in a statement. Sprint also said the judge ruled that a non-compete clause in Forsee’s contract with BellSouth :is void and unenforceable.”

Forsee, the No. 2 man at BellSouth and considered to be the successor to Duane Ackerman, BellSouth’s current chief executive officer, is Sprint’s choice to take over that company.

Sprint announced it was hiring Forsee last week, triggering an immediate lawsuit by BellSouth. BellSouth claimed Forsee was violating a non-compete clause in his contract.

The debate about Forsee means at least a few more weeks of uncertainty for Sprint. Its CEO, William Esrey, and his deputy, Ronald LeMay, after under fire for matters related to tax shelters, according to various media reports.