Judge orders new trial in Sprint class-action ETF case

A judge in California has ordered a new trial for a $300 million class-action lawsuit brought against Sprint Nextel over damages related to early terminations fees (ETF). Sprint said it would appeal the new ruling.

Judge Bonnie Sabraw of the Superior Court of California in Alameda County issued the ruling this week, setting aside a previous jury's  decision which had awarded damages. The new trial will determine damages. Sabraw has ruled before that ETFs are illegal and last July she ordered Sprint to pay $73 million in refunds to customers for the fees.

Sabraw said that, according to the first jury, "Sprint's actual damages from the early termination of the class's contracts ($225,697,433) were exactly equal to the amount of the charged but unpaid ETFs ($225,697,433)." This meant that Sprint would not have to pay any damages.

The lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the California case, Scott Bursor, is also the lead attorney in a $1 billion federal class-action lawsuit against Sprint over ETFs. That case is complicated by a preliminary $17.5 million settlement granted in federal court in New Jersey, which excludes the California case. 

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