United States: Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman Gains Early Victory in Antitrust Claim
Release Date: August 2, 2002
Last Updated: August 21 2002

Court Rules in CoreComm’s Favor in Claim Against Ameritech Corp.

(Washington, DC)— Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman, LLP ("SBSF") successfully argued telecommunications provider CoreComm Newco, Inc.’s antitrust claims against Ameritech Corporation and its parent company, SBC Communications, Inc. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio upheld the company’s claim that SBC/Ameritech had maintained its monopoly over the market for local telephone services in the Cleveland and Columbus areas.

The court denied SBC/Ameritech’s motion to dismiss the antitrust claim brought by CoreComm, which also alleged that SBC/Ameritech had misrepresented the quality of its services. The Ohio decision marks the first instance of an antitrust case brought by a competitive provider in which a Federal Court rejected the Seventh Circuit’s broad suggestion in Goldwasser v. Ameritech that anti-competitive conduct that violates the 1996 Telecommunications Act (Telecom Act) cannot at the same time constitute an antitrust violation.

SBSF filed CoreComm’s claim late last year, alleging that SBC/Ameritech had preserved its monopoly through a series of anti-competitive and unlawful acts. CoreComm is a subsidiary of ATX, Communications, Inc., an integrated communications provider of local and long distance telephone, Internet and wireless services to residential and business customers throughout the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest.

"We’ve achieved an extraordinary milestone for CoreComm," said Eric Branfman, lead counsel for CoreComm. "We’ll continue our efforts to help our client deliver its services to customers whom it has been unlawfully prevented from serving."

The court reasoned that any act or failure to act that violated the antitrust laws prior to enactment of the Telecom Act continued to violate antitrust laws after enactment. The court concluded that it is possible to give both the Telecom Act and the antitrust laws simultaneous effect: "[t]he two acts have different scope, different remedies, and different procedural requirements, yet they are complimentary in purpose."

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