Sprint, Cellular South Score Partial Wins in Antitrust Suit Ruling
News Analysis: U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle turned down AT&T's motions to dismiss private antitrust lawsuits filed by Sprint and Cellular South by ruling that they have standing to sue.U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle has handed AT&T a defeat in its quest to prevent the antitrust suits filed by Sprint and Cellular South seeking to prevent the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile. AT&T had filed motions to dismiss the suits by both companies on the grounds that they didn't have standing to sue because the companies are competitors of AT&T. "But where private plaintiffs have successfully pleaded antitrust injury, the fact that they are defendants' competitors is no bar," Judge Huvelle said in her conclusion to the 44-page decision.
As you would imagine, Sprint and Cellular South (which is now calling itself C Spire Wireless, but is referred to by its original name in the antitrust litigation) hailed the decision as a victory for their side. "By allowing Sprint and C Spire Wireless to move forward with these lawsuits, the Court has ensured we receive a fair hearing," Sprint's vice president for litigation Susan Haller said in a prepared statement.
"Along with the Justice Department and a bi-partisan group of Attorneys General from seven states and Puerto Rico, Sprint has concluded that the transaction would give AT&T the ability to raise prices, thwart competition, stymie innovation, diminish service quality and stifle choice for millions of American consumers. We are pleased that the Court has given us the chance to continue fighting to preserve competition on behalf of consumers and the wireless industry."