Class Action Against Sprint PCS Results in $20 Million Settlement
After eight years, a consumer class action lawsuit with Sprint customers, Christopher Hesse and Nathaniel Olsen as named plaintiffs, resulted in a $20 million settlement late last month. The class action was on behalf of hundreds of thousands of mobile phone service customers of Sprint PCS. The lawsuit against Sprint PCS alleged that the mobile phone company had engaged in misleading and illegal billing practices by charging all of its customers in Washington State. Instead of acknowledging its illegal conduct and repaying the collected taxes to its customers, Sprint PCS embarked on an eight-year legal battle that reached as high as the the Supreme Court of the United States.
Sprint’s initial argument was that it did not need to abide by state law and continue to charge the illegal tax. It also argued that the case against it had already settled in a Kansas State court, despite the fact that Kansas residents cannot settle a consumer case that alleges Washington law in a Kansas court. After years on appeal, Sprint finally argued that the courthouse doors were closed to its Washington customers and that the case should be decided on an individual basis through a secret tribunal (made up of individuals who Sprint would select).
The settlement will fully reimburse every Sprint PCS cusomter who paid the illegal tax plus interest from 2002 to the present. Brad J. Moore of Stritmatter Kessler Whelan is one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs.