AT&T files suit to stop arbitration cases opposing acquisition of T-Mobile USA

AT&T (NYSE:T) has filed eight federal lawsuits aimed at stopping a law firm's attempt to block its proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA.

The law firm, Bursor & Fisher, filed arbitration cases in eight jurisdictions across the U.S. aiming to stop the deal contending the deal is in violation of the Clayton Antitrust Act and hurts competition. The action is designed to represent customers who want to legally challenge the acquisition. The firm recently said it signed up more than 1,000 customers.

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.

AT&T, however, has maintained that the arbitration clause in its contract with customers can't be used for such efforts.

"This merger will provide tremendous benefits for customers and unleash billions of dollars in badly needed investment, creating many thousands of well-paying jobs that are vitally needed given our weakened economy--a fact that's been recognized by consumers, public officials and groups of all types," AT&T told AllThingsD. "However, the bottom line here is an arbitrator has no authority to block the merger or affect the merger process in any way. AT&T's arbitration agreement with our customers--recently upheld by the Supreme Court--allows individual relief for individual claims. Bursor & Fisher is seeking class-wide relief wrapped in the guise of individual arbitration proceedings, which is specifically prohibited by AT&T's arbitration agreement. Accordingly, the claims are completely without merit. We have filed suit in order to stop this abusive action."

For more:
- see this AllThingsD article

Related articles:
AT&T customers look to block T-Mobile USA deal
Entner: T-Mobile results show AT&T arrived just in time
AT&T to spend $8B on LTE expansion after T-Mobile deal
AT&T to buy T-Mobile USA for $39B

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