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Qwest Ordered to Pay AT&T Over $350 Million

November 16, 2000|Associated Press

Qwest Communications International Inc. was ordered by a jury to pay AT&T Corp. more than $350 million for repeatedly cutting a fiber-optic phone line in Texas. The award equals roughly three-fourths of Qwest's 1999 profit. Qwest said it probably would appeal. AT&T charged that Denver-based Qwest was negligent in cutting an AT&T line that connects Austin and San Antonio in September, November and December 1997. Each time, AT&T's service was disrupted for more than three hours, although most customers were rerouted automatically to other parts of the network and didn't lose service. On Monday, the Travis County jury awarded AT&T $1.2 million in actual damages and on Tuesday added $350 million for punitive damages. On the New York Stock Exchange, Qwest closed unchanged at $42.19 and AT&T closed off 13 cents at $20.56.

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