T-Mobile files Motion to Dismiss in Citizen Case Against Sprint Merger

T-Mobile moved for the dismissal of a consumer lawsuit against the soon-to-close merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, calling it an “eleventh hour challenge.” The 24 consumers who initiated the lawsuit in the California Northern District Court last November filed an appeal earlier this month after their request for a restraining order and a preliminary injunction were denied.

The consumers are represented by Alioto Law Firm, T-Mobile is represented by Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton, and Sprint is represented by Morrison & Foerster. “Since the merger was announced in April 2018, it has been investigated extensively by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ).  Having imposed certain commitments, the FCC and DOJ found the transaction to be in the public interest and pro competitive,” the motion for dismissal states.

The consumers argued in their appeal that the merger would make phone bills more expensive for consumers because it would reduce competition among the phone companies. After a merger, there would be only three major phone service providers. T-Mobile and Sprint claim the deal would have the opposite effect because it would allow them to compete with AT&T and Verizon.

Attorneys general from fourteen states, including California and New York, started a lawsuit against the merger for similar reasons. Over time, however, the states gradually dropped from the suit, some before the trial and some by deciding not to appeal the case after February when they lost the case in the Southern District of New York. California was the last state to officially back down after they made an agreement with T-Mobile for low-cost plans in the next five years and assurance of additional jobs in California.

T-Mobile, in their motion to dismiss the consumer’s appeal, says the case is generalized and ignores “the extensive accompanying divestitures and commitments,” that T-Mobile has made, mostly with the states as a response to the other lawsuit. They also say the Plaintiffs do not allege that they would suffer personal harm, but present general complaints instead. They also say the complaint ignores remedies negotiated with the DOJ and FCC.