Cell Phone Early Termination Fee Cases
Cell Phone Early Termination Fee Cases is a coordinated litigation involving claims against the major wireless telephone carriers, some of which have subsequently merged (AT&T, Cingular, Sprint, Nextel, Verizon and T-Mobile). The cases are divided by carrier and against each carrier (with certain exceptions), there are two types of cases: cases challenging the early contract termination fees as unlawful penalties and cases alleging that the locking of the phones is an unfair and deceptive practice. Most of the cases have settled. The early termination fee case against Sprint was tried (twice). After the second trial, the court granted in part Sprint’s motion for a new trial, and that order is now on appeal subject to cross-appeals by both parties. After the first Sprint trial, the Court ruled that Sprint’s early contract termination fees constitute unlawful penalties under California law, and that ruling is unaffected by the new trial ruling and the appeals.