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Verizon Communs., Inc. v. Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko, LLP

Supreme Court of the United States

October 14, 2003, Argued ; January 13, 2004, Decided

No. 02-682

Opinion

 [*401]   [**875]  Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-104, 110 Stat. 56, imposes certain duties upon incumbent local telephone companies in order to facilitate market entry by competitors, and establishes a complex regime for monitoring and enforcement. In this case we consider whether a complaint alleging breach of the incumbent's duty under the 1996 Act to share its network with competitors states a claim under § 2 of the Sherman Act, 26 Stat 209.

 [*402]  Petitioner Verizon Communications Inc. is the incumbent local exchange carrier (LEC) serving New York State.  Before the 1996 Act, Verizon, 1 like [****7]  other incumbent LECs, enjoyed an exclusive franchise within its local service area. The 1996 Act sought to "uproo[t]" the incumbent LECs' monopoly and to introduce competition in its place. Verizon Communs., Inc. v. FCC, 535 U.S. 467, 488, 152 L. Ed. 2d 701, 122 S. Ct. 1646 (2002). ] Central to the scheme of the Act is the incumbent LEC's [**876]  obligation under 47 U.S.C. § 251(c) [47 USCS § 251(c)] to share its network with competitors, see AT&T Corp. v. Iowa Utilities Bd., 525 U.S. 366, 371, 142 L. Ed. 2d 834, 119 S. Ct. 721 (1999), including provision of access to individual elements of the network on an "unbundled" basis. § 251(c)(3). New entrants, so-called competitive  [***833]  LECs, resell these unbundled network elements (UNEs), recombined with each other or with elements belonging to the LECs.

 [****8]  Verizon, like other incumbent LECs, has taken two significant steps within the Act's framework in the direction of increased competition. First, Verizon has signed interconnection agreements with rivals such as AT&T, as it is obliged to do under § 252, detailing the terms on which it will make its network elements available. (Because Verizon and AT&T could not agree upon terms, the open issues were subjected to compulsory arbitration under §§ 252(b) and (c).) In 1997, the state regulator, New York's Public Service Commission (PSC), approved Verizon's interconnection agreement with AT&T.

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540 U.S. 398 *; 124 S. Ct. 872 **; 157 L. Ed. 2d 823 ***; 2004 U.S. LEXIS 657 ****; 72 U.S.L.W. 4114; 2004-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P74,241; 17 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 91; 31 Comm. Reg. (P & F) 542

VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC., Petitioner v. LAW OFFICES OF CURTIS V. TRINKO, LLP

Subsequent History: Complaint dismissed at Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko, LLP v. Verizon Communs. Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71101 (S.D.N.Y., Sept. 27, 2006)

Prior History:  [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT.

Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko, L.L.P. v. Bell Atl. Corp., 305 F.3d 89, 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 12233 (2d Cir. N.Y., 2002)

Disposition: Reversed and remanded.

CORE TERMS

antitrust, FCC, incumbent, customers, orders, rivals, anti trust law, monopoly, sharing, anticompetitive, interconnection, long-distance, competitors, network, consent decree, allegations, regulation, facilities, Skiing, ticket, terms, fill, antitrust claim, authorization, damages, cases

Antitrust & Trade Law, Regulated Industries, Communications, Telecommunications Act, Communications Law, Regulated Practices, Introducing Competition, Duties of Incumbent Carriers & Resellers, General Overview, Telephone Services, Local Exchange Carriers, Federal Acts, Telecommunications Act, Federal Communications Act, Federal Preemption, Sherman Act, Scope, Monopolization Offenses, Monopolies & Monopolization, Actual Monopolization, Monopoly Power, Attempts to Monopolize, Sherman Act, Securities Law, Self-Regulating Entities, National Securities Exchanges, New York Stock Exchange, Long Distance Telephone Services, Energy & Utilities Law, Regulators, Public Utility Commissions, Penalties, US Federal Communications Commission, Public Enforcement, Orders & Hearings, Judicial Review