• On November 21, 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California preliminarily approved a $14 million settlement of a class action suit in which landowners claimed that Qwest, Sprint, Level 3, and WilTel installed fiber-optic lines on their property without asking for their permission or providing compensation. This settlement is the latest following a 2010 nationwide mediation that established a framework for resolving similar claims throughout the country, with the framework requiring the carriers to pay affected landowners in each state an agreed-upon amount per foot of fiber-optic line in exchange for an easement allowing them to continue operating the installed lines on their property. According to the settlement, landowners would receive approximately $8.3 million of the total value, while the remaining $5.8 million would cover administrative expenses and plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees. The fairness hearing is scheduled to be held in June 2013. Smith v. Qwest Commc’ns Co., No. 11-02599 (N.D. Cal.).