For months, Bursor & Fisher has represented the masses—such as they are—so opposed to the proposed AT&T-mo power coupling that they've resorted to legal means to stop it. Last week, AT&T finally slung some lawsuits back their way.
According to Reuters, AT&T has moved to close off any chance that the claims brought against them could be decided in arbitration. Which is funny, because AT&T argued in front of the Supreme Court last fall that they thought arbitration was a wonderful thing. Just not, you know, this time:
AT&T argued that although the arbitrations were filed by individual customers, they are not seeking damages for any personal harm they suffered. Rather, they're seeking an injunction to block a $39 billion merger that would affect more than 120 million wireless customers, one complaint said.
"Our arbitration agreement prohibits any form of class-wide relief. The Supreme Court upheld that," AT&T's lawyer, Andrew Pincus, told Reuters.
But what does this mean, exactly? Basically that AT&T knows that any one of these claims could put the whole acquisition's fate in the hands of a single arbitrator. They don't like those odds! And to be honest, the point is probably moot. No merger has ever been blocked by a single arbitrator, and the Justice Department, according to Reuters, would probably step in before it came to that.
Still, AT&T's officially lawyering up! Which people only do when they are totally confident that they're doing nothing wrong. Sorry! Cheap one. I'll take it back as soon as the arbitrator gives the OK. [Reuters]