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Larson, et al v. At&T Mobility LLC

March 21, 2011

LARSON, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
AT&T MOBILITY LLC, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Linares, District Judge.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Pending before this Court is Defendant Sprint's ("Sprint") application to: (1) enjoin an appeal pending before the Court of Appeals of the State of California First Appellate District, Division Five (the "California Appeal"); (2) stay the litigation in the Subscriber Class Case; and

(3) enter an order to show cause for contempt of this Court's Final Judgment. (Dckt. No. 603; renewed through Dckt. No. 622 ).

BACKGROUND

The instant application arises out of a case -- that was ultimately settled -- involving a claim by Plaintiffs that the early-termination fees ("ETFs") charged by Sprint violated, inter alia, the Federal Communications Act and state consumer protection laws. (Second Am. Compl. 1 ¶ 4, Docket Entry No. 90).

Prior to the filing of this action, however, Ms. Zill filed an ETF case against Sprint on August 28, 2003 in Alameda (Cal.) County Superior Court ("the Subscriber Class Case") in which she ultimately obtained certification of a "Subscriber Class - composed of people who were current subscribers to Sprint's service and were subject to an ETF." (Opp'n Br.at 3). On January 15, 2009, this Court entered an All Writs Act Order that temporarily enjoined Subscriber Class Counsel from prosecuting its claims in the Subscriber Class Case.

On January 15, 2010, this Court granted final approval of the Settlement Agreement by Order and Opinion. (Dckt. Nos. 437 & 438). In rendering that decision, this Court found that the California Subscriber Class is Subsumed by the Settlement Class. (See January 15, 2010 Opinion at p. 8, fn.7). Subsequently, on February 16, 2010, this Court entered the Final Judgment which, inter alia, provides that:

No settlement Class Member, either directly, representatively, or in any other capacity (other than a Settlement Class Member who validly and timely submitted a valid Request for Extension), shall commence, continue, or prosecute any action or proceeding against any and all Sprint-Nextel released Parties in any court or tribunal asserting any of the Class Released Claims denied in the Agreement, and are hereby permanently enjoined for so proceeding.

(Dckt. No. 470, Final Judgment at ¶ 23).*fn1

Following the approval of settlement, Sprint moved to dismiss the claims of the Subscriber Class in the California case. On March 9, 2010, the Superior Court granted Sprint's motion to dismiss the claims of the absent Subscriber Class members, but denied the motion as to Ms. Zill in her individual capacity.

On March 18, 2010, Ms. Zill -- acting in a representative capacity as the named Appellant -- filed a notice of appeal from Judge Smith's ruling dismissing the absent Subscriber Class claims ("the California Appeal"). On January 13, 2011, Ms. Zill filed her opening brief on behalf of absent Subscriber Class members. Sprint now moves to: (1) enjoin said appeal; (2) stay the litigation in the Subscriber Class Case; and (3) enter an order to show cause for contempt of this Court's Final Judgment.*fn2 (Dckt. No. 603; renewed through Dckt. No. 622 ).

JURISDICTION

This Court has jurisdiction over the instant application because it retained jurisdiction over the "Action," the Parties and the Settlement Class, and the administration and enforcement of the Settlement. ( See Dckt. No. 470, Final Judgment; see generally In re Prudential Ins. Co. of Am. Sales Practice Litig., 261 F.3d 355, 367-68 (3d Cir.2001) ("A district court has the power to enforce an ongoing order against relitigation so as to protect the integrity of a complex class settlement over which it ...


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