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Business Briefing / Courts

Sprint defeats 'preemptive' suit

January 30, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Sprint Nextel Corp. defeated an effort to force the cellphone carrier to change early termination fees and arbitration rules that included a limit on the amount of time in which consumers could dispute bills.

The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that consumers couldn't bring "preemptive" lawsuits against companies for violating a state consumer law. Only those who have suffered harm from a company's alleged illegal act can sue under the state Consumers Legal Remedies Act, the state's high court said.

The Sprint customers involved did not allege that they had a dispute involving its service agreement, the court said.

In a separate case over its termination fees, Sprint was ordered to pay $73 million to mobile phone customers.

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