• On August 24, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed its earlier decision that allowed a putative class arbitration to proceed involving challenges to Verizon Wireless’s practice of extracting millions of dollars from customers through an unauthorized “administrative charge” on their monthly invoices. The Court of Appeals found that the Supreme Court’s recent decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion compelled reversal of the earlier ruling, stating that the holding in Concepcion is “broad and clear: a state law that seeks to impose class arbitration despite a contractual agreement for individualized arbitration is inconsistent with, and therefore preempted by, the [Federal Arbitration Act], irrespective of whether class arbitration is desirable for unrelated reasons.” Verizon, like AT&T and the nation’s other wireless carriers, requires customers to agree that they will never lodge any claim except through individual arbitrations. Litman v. Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless, No. 08-4103 (3d Cir.).
  • On August 15, 2011, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed most of Skynet’s lawsuit against AT&T Florida. Skynet was a reseller of, among other services, AT&T Primary Rate Interface (PRI) circuits. The parties negotiated an agreement that, Skynet claimed, set a fixed price for the PRIs, which understanding was corroborated by emails from two AT&T sales personnel. Despite that agreement, AT&T began charging Skynet usage-sensitive charges, which Skynet then disputed and refused to pay. AT&T terminated service, and Skynet sued. The district court, relying on the filed tariff doctrine, dismissed most of Skynet’s claims, explaining that the “flaw with Skynet’s argument is that parties to an agreement for the provision of a tariff-regulated telecommunication service cannot contract around the tariff rate.” The Court also dismissed Skynet’s Section 201 [of the Communications Act] claim on the ground that the “Communications Act does not apply to intrastate telecommunications services.” The court will allow Skynet’s claims for an accounting and for defamation/slander of credit to go forward. Solar Star Systems, LLC d/b/a Skynet 360 v. BellSouth Telecomms., Inc. d/b/a AT&T Florida, No. 10-21105 (S.D. Fla.).