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In re IntraMTA Switched Access Charges Litigation
United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
May 15, 2018
IN RE INTRAMTA SWITCHED ACCESS CHARGES LITIGATION THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO Civil Action Nos. 3:14-CV-1724-D, 3:14-CV-3210-D, 3:14-CV-4418-D, 3:14-CV-4420-D, 3:14-CV-4422-D, 3:14-CV-4423-D, 3:14-CV-4424-D, 3:14-CV-4425-D, 3:14-CV-4426-D, 3:14-CV-4427-D, 3:14-CV-4428-D, 3:14-CV-4429-D, 3:14-CV-4430-D, 3:14-CV-4433-D, 3:14-CV-4445-D, 3:14-CV-4446-D, 3:14-CV-4447-D, 3:14-CV-4460-D, 3:14-CV-4469-D, 3:14-CV-4470-D, 3:14-CV-4472-D, 3:14-CV-4473-D, 3:14-CV-4474-D, 3:14-CV-4546-D, 3:14-CV-4547-D, 3:14-CV-4561-D, 3:14-CV-4564-D, 3:14-CV-4573-D, 3:14-CV-4574-D, 3:14-CV-4577-D, 3:14-CV-4579-D, 3:14-CV-4580-D, 3:14-CV-4581-D, 3:15-CV-0019-D, 3:15-CV-0020-D, 3:15-CV-0021-D, 3:15-CV-0023-D, 3:15-CV-0033-D, 3:15-CV-0034-D, 3:15-CV-0035-D, 3:15-CV-0036-D, 3:15-CV-0040-D, 3:15-CV-0044-D, 3:15-CV-0045-D, 3:15-CV-0066-D, 3:15-CV-0078-D, 3:15-CV-0114-D, 3:15-CV-0115-D, 3:15-CV-0116-D, 3:15-CV-0137-D, 3:15-CV-0142-D, 3:15-CV-0198-D, 3:15-CV-0228-D, 3:15-CV-0260-D, 3:15-CV-0563-D, 3:15-CV-0705-D, 3:15-CV-0931-D, 3:15-CV-1040-D, 3:15-CV-1041-D, 3:15-CV-1052-D, 3:15-CV-1053-D, 3:15-CV-1069-D, 3:15-CV-1070-D, 3:15-CV-1071-D, 3:15-CV-1102-D, 3:15-CV-1177-D, 3:16-CV-0361-D, 3:16-CV-0974-D, 3:16-CV-0975-D, 3:16-CV-0977-D, 3:16-CV-0979-D, 3:16-CV-0989-D, 3:16-CV-0990-D, 3:16-CV-1010-D, 3:16-CV-1105-D, 3:16-CV-1119-D, 3:16-CV-1122-D, 3:16-CV-1126-D, 3:16-CV-1443-D, 3:16-CV-1626-D, 3:16-CV-1893-D, 3:16-CV-1985-D, 3:16-CV-2210-D, 3:16-CV-2923-D, 4:16-CV-0302-D
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. FITZWATER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
these MDL proceedings, the court decides three pending
motions for summary judgment under an abbreviated summary
judgment procedure that is appropriate under the
circumstances to facilitate an appeal of the court's
case-dispositive decision in In re IntraMTA Switched
Access Charges Litigation, 2015 WL 7252948 (N.D. Tex.
Nov. 17, 2015) (Fitzwater, J.) (“IntraMTA
I”). Concluding that the movants have established
beyond peradventure that they are entitled to summary
judgment, the court grants their motions and orders that the
parties submit proposed final judgments under the procedure
previously prescribed by court order.
these MDL cases are the subject of several prior memorandum
opinions and orders, see, e.g., In re IntraMTA Switched
Access Charges Litigation, 2017 WL 1078522 (N.D. Tex.
Mar. 22, 2017) (Fitzwater, J.) (“IntraMTA
II”); IntraMTA I, 2015 WL 7252948, the
court will recount only the background facts and procedural
history that are pertinent to this decision.
MDL proceedings principally present the question whether
local exchange carriers (“LECs”) can charge
interexchange carriers (“IXCs”) access fees for
the services that the LECs provide the IXCs to enable them to
exchange interstate wireless intraMTA calls-that is,
interstate wireless calls that originate and terminate within
the same Major Trading Area (“MTA”). In
IntraMTA I the court dismissed the IXCs's claims
against the LECs, holding that the LECs's filed federal
tariffs were not contrary to law, and, accordingly, were
enforceable under the “filed rate doctrine.”
IntraMTA I, 2015 WL 7252948, at *4, 14. The court
“h[eld] that [the LECs] are entitled to rely on the
filed rate doctrine because it is lawful under federal law to
charge IXCs access fees for access services that the LECs
provide to enable the IXCs to exchange interstate wireless
intraMTA calls.” Id. at *14.
the court dismissed the IXCs's claims in IntraMTA
I,  it granted leave to the
defendants-counterplaintiffs LECs to file counterclaims
against the IXCs for breach of the LECs's federal and
state tariffs. In tag-along cases filed by the LECs against
Level 3 in its capacity as an IXC, the LECs's
claims against Level 3 remain pending after the court denied
Level 3's motion to dismiss in IntraMTA II. No.
final judgments have been entered with respect to the
IXCs's claims against the LECs, the LECs's
counterclaims against the IXCs, or the LECs's claims
against Level 3.
order to place these cases in a procedural posture that will
permit appellate review of the court's decision in
IntraMTA I, the LECs and IXCs have undertaken steps
to resolve the remaining claims and counterclaims through
stipulated facts and agreed forms of final judgments. But
they have been unable to agree on the question whether the
services at issue in this litigation that the LECs provide
the IXCs can properly be described as “access
services.” Accordingly, the LECs have filed the
following abbreviated motions for summary judgment: the
LECs's joint motion for summary judgment; the LECs's
joint motion for summary judgment against Level 3; and
certain Minnesota small LECs's joint motion for summary
judgment filed in member No. 3:16-CV-2210-D. The arguments
presented in each of these motions and the responses thereto
are essentially the same, and, accordingly, the court will
address them together.
the LECs will have the burden of proof at trial on their
claims or counterclaims, to be entitled to summary judgment,
they “must establish ‘beyond peradventure all of
the essential elements of the claim[s or
counterclaims.]'” Bank One, Tex., N.A. v.
Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 878 F.Supp. 943, 962 (N.D.
Tex. 1995) (Fitzwater, J.) (quoting Fontenot v. Upjohn
Co., 780 F.2d 1190, 1194 (5th Cir. 1986)). “This
means that [the LECs] must demonstrate that there are no
genuine and material fact disputes and that [they are]
entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.”
GoForIt Entm't, LLC v. DigiMedia.com L.P., 750
F.Supp.2d 712, 722 (N.D. Tex. Oct. 25, 2010) (Fitzwater, C.J
.) (citing Martin v. Alamo Cmty. Coll. Dist., 353
F.3d 409, 412 (5th Cir. 2003)). “‘The court has
noted that the ‘beyond peradventure' standard is
‘heavy.'” Carolina Cas. Ins. Co. v.
Sowell, 603 F.Supp.2d 914, 923 (N.D. Tex. 2009)
(Fitzwater, C.J.) (quoting Cont'l Cas. Co. v. St.
Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 2007 WL 2403656, at *10
(N.D. Tex. Aug. 23, 2007) (Fitzwater, J.)).
LECs move for summary judgment based on the following
The LECs have filed enforceable Tariffs for switched access
services. The Tariffs require the LECs to collect access
charges for the switched access services they provide to
IXCs. The IXCs used these LECs' access services to
exchange the Subject Calls with the LECs. The terms of the
LECs' Tariffs require the LECs to collect the tariffed
rates for access charges for the Subject Calls. The IXCs
therefore owed these access charges.
Br. at 3 (citations omitted); see also LECs's
Level 3 Br. at 3; Minn. Small LECs's Br. at 4. They
contend, further, that their tariffs also require the LECs to
collect fees or charges if the IXCs's payments for access
charges are not made by the deadlines set in the tariffs
(“Late Payment Charges”); that the IXCs did not
pay the LECs's tariffed access charges by the required
deadlines; and that the IXCs therefore owe the Late Payment
Charges as set forth in the tariffs, in the amounts set forth
in the tariffs. LECS's Br. at 3-4 (citations ...