Lawyers representing 11 AT&T (NYSE:T) customers have file arbitration cases designed to block the company's planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA.
The firm Bursor & Fisher filed a 236-page arbitration demand last week, claiming that the deal is in violation of the Clayton Antitrust Act and hurts competition. While the deal requires the necessary government approvals from the Department of Justice and the FCC, the action is designed to represent customers who want to legally challenge the acquisition.
"Government enforcement is an important part of the antitrust laws, but the Clayton Act also permits private parties who may be adversely affected to challenge a proposed merger," attorney Scott Bursor said in a statement printed by AllThingsD. "That means any AT&T cell phone, data or iPad customer who will suffer higher prices and diminished service because of this merger can sue to stop it from happening."
The firm aims to file hundreds more arbitration cases and has set up a web site explaining its case. The complaints have to be filed as arbitration because AT&T's standard contract terms prohibit class-action suits but do allow for arbitration disputes.
"If we bring 100 cases and we lose 99 of them we are going to win," Bursor said. "We just need one arbitrator to say, ‘Wait a minute, this merger is going to hurt competition.'"
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