Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment dismissing plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim against Verizon under the Stored Communications Act (SCA), 18 U.S.C. 2701–2712. The court applied an objective standard to the good faith requirements found in sections 2702(c)(4) and 2707(e)(1) of the SCA and asked if Verizon's conduct was objectively reasonable. The court held that, taking all factual allegations as true and construing the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff, Verizon acted in an objectively reasonable manner. In this case, Verizon only released the non-content information tied to plaintiff's cell phone number after it received a signed and certified form indicating that the request involved the danger of death or serious physical injury to a person, necessitating the immediate release of information, an alleged arson, and victims who were within the home when it was set on fire. Moreover, the government official who submitted the form listed his identifying information. Therefore, Verizon was protected from liability under the SCA or any other law for releasing the records both by the immunity provided by section 2703(e) and the complete defense created by section 2707(e)(1). View "Alexander v. Verizon Wireless Services, LLC" on Justia Law

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CenturyLink filed suit against Sprint for damages resulting from Sprint's refusal to pay $8.7 million in access charges. Sprint counterclaimed, seeking a declaration that it was not required to pay CenturyLink the higher statutory "tariff" rates under federal and state laws. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's conclusion that Sprint was required to pay CenturyLink the challenged tariff-rate access charges. In this case, the district court did not clearly err in finding Sprint was operating as an interexchange carrier in providing its VoIP-to-traditional-format transfer service, rather than as an information-service provider. Therefore, Sprint was obligated to pay for the federal tariff rates billed by CenturyLink. The court noted that, because Sprint failed to raise preemption on appeal, the state law tariffs could not be challenged here. The court also affirmed the district court's conclusion that Sprint engaged in unjust and unreasonable practices when it retroactively clawed-back funds by not paying charges it undisputedly owed. View "CenturyTel of Chatham, LLC v. Sprint Communications Co." on Justia Law