Judge tosses out class-action lawsuit against Sprint

A U.S. District Court judged ruled Sprint will be spared from a class-action lawsuit that alleged the carrier overcharged taxes for customers using data cards and refused refunds.

Judge Robert Bryan, of the U.S. District Court of Tacoma, Wash., handed down the ruling June 23. "The plaintiffs have not proven that the benefits of adjudication of the plaintiffs' claims at one trial would outweigh the complexity of such proceeding," Bryan wrote in his ruling.  

A California consumer-advocacy group, the Utility Consumers' Action Network, sued Sprint in federal court in San Diego in 2007. Bryan took over the case after judges in San Diego recused themselves in April 2008. The advocacy group said Sprint tacked on fees for text messages sent to customers who bought the data cards to access the Internet, and had sought to have the case designated as a national class-action lawsuit.

The judge said the consumer group failed to show how having their claims combined in a national class-action suit would be better or more efficient. 

"While we are pleased with the judge's decision, it is procedural in nature and is the first of many to be made by the court," Sprint spokesman John Taylor told FierceWireless. "Sprint remains committed to providing fair and transparent billing practices as part of a positive customer experience."

For more:
- see this Bloomberg News article
- see this Reuters article

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