Copyright (c) 2007 Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law
Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law
ARTICLE: Hit and Miss: Leverage, Sacrifice, and Refusal to Deal in the Supreme Court Decision in Trinko
10 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. L. 121
The Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko, a law partnership in Brooklyn, New York, bought local telecommunications services from American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T). AT&T was providing these services by combining leased parts of the Verizon local telecommunications network (unbundled network elements, or UNEs) and adding retail services of its own, such as billing and marketing. 1 Trinko sued Verizon for raising the costs of its retail rival AT&T (who had entered the market as a competitive local exchange carrier) and otherwise disadvantaging AT&T through anti-competitive conduct (including discrimination in fulfilling customer transfer orders to entrants) under section 2 of the Sherman Act. 2
The district court dismissed all the claims brought by Trinko and accepted the defendant's view that a breach of the interconnection agreement between Verizon and a competitive local exchange carrier (LEC) should be remedied through an administrative process. 3 The district court also noted that antitrust litigation would disrupt the regulatory process of implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the 1996 Act). 4 The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed, stating that it was "unlikely that allowing antitrust suits would substantially disrupt the regulatory proceedings mandated by the Telecommunications Act." 5 The Second Circuit observed:
While ideally, the regulatory process alone would be enough to bring competition to the local phone service markets, it is possible that the antitrust laws will be needed to supplement the regulatory scheme, especially with respect to injury caused to consumers. 6
The decision ...
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