0144 MCI PDF
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CourtListener is a project of Free Law Projecta federally-recognized c 3 non-profit. We rely on donations for our financial security. Brooks, Brooks and Brooks, Sherbourn, Mass.
MCI is a national and international long-distance telephone carrier. TCI is a professional fund-raising consultant that represents charitable and civic organizations. TCI filed an Answer and Counterclaim alleging that, before agreeing to provide the service, MCI had represented that it would charge a much lower rate than the rate it ultimately charged.
TCI seeks adjudication that it is not liable to MCI for the alleged deficiency, and it seeks damages from MCI for the alleged lost revenue as a result of the alleged disruptions. MCI has moved, under Fed. MCI argues that a tariff schedule of rates filed with the Federal Communications Commission “FCC” at the time of the agreement exclusively governs the rights and duties of the parties, regardless of any inconsistent statements that MCI’s representatives may have made.
For the reasons that follow, MCI’s motion with respect to Counts I and II, the primary contract and misrepresentation claims, is denied. MCI’s motion to dismiss Count III, which alleges breach of contract as a result of disruptions in service, is granted.
When considering a motion to dismiss under Fed. The moving party, here MCI, carries the burden of establishing that the non-moving party, TCI, can prove no possible set of facts that would entitle it to relief.
The allegations in the counterclaim are presumed true for the purpose of testing the sufficiency of the counterclaim. All inferences are resolved against the moving party and in favor of the non-moving party. When the facts and inferences are viewed in the light most favorable to TCI, the following scenario emerges. Inwhile operating under the name Save a Life Publications, Inc.
Long-distance telephone charges are one of TCI’s largest business expenses. The Communications Act ofas amended, requires common carriers, including long-distance telephone carriers, to file and maintain a schedule, or tariff, of contractual terms and conditions with the FCC.
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A tariff filed with the FCC must set forth the carrier’s charges, classifications, practices, and regulations. The contents of the tariff are subject to FCC regulation and approval. Under the “filed tariff doctrine,” a tariff filed with the FCC supersedes all other agreements for interstate telephone services.
Purchasers of interstate telephone services are presumed to know the terms of any relevant tariff. Marco Supply, F. Accidental or intentional misquotation of a rate governed by a filed tariff cannot alter the terms of a binding contract based on the tariff. Aside from Marco Supply, F. Judicial construction of the ICA, including recent opinions from the U. Supreme Court and the First Circuit Court of Appeals, has consistently reaffirmed the rule that a filed tariff sets the terms of all contracts operating under the ICA, despite any contrary agreements between the parties.
This Court can locate no federal opinion, other than Marco Supply, F. Marco’s suit charged breach of contract and willful misrepresentation. Applying the filed tariff doctrine, the Fourth Circuit explained that “a regulated carrier must charge the tariff rate established with the appropriate regulatory agency, even if it has quoted or charged a lower rate to its customer.
0144 MCI PDF
The filed tariff doctrine often leads to harsh and seemingly unfair results. Transamerican Freight Lines, Inc. This strict rule could permit a carrier deliberately to misrepresent its rates to unwitting customers and then demand the full tariff amount after the contract is performed, even many years after the transaction. Despite this potential for injustice, the rationale for the rule is compelling.
To allow a regulated carrier, under any circumstances, to charge less than the rate contained in the filed tariff would “be giving a preference to and discriminating in favor of the customer in question.
United States, U. Congress has clearly expressed its desire not to allow price discrimination through deviations from published tariffs. The Supreme Court has refused to diverge from this longstanding policy, Maislin, S. Analysis of the counterclaim does not end with the conclusion that the MCI Tariff governs. Viewing the pleadings in the light most favorable to TCI, as required by Fed.
Count II similarly claims that the MCI Tariff allows liability for MCI’s alleged “willful misconduct,” which allegedly supports tort liability for intentional misrepresentation.
Certainly, the tariff as a whole, and not merely the rates contained therein, is paramount. Otherwise, many provisions of the MCI Tariff would be meaningless. See Stand Buys, Mcci. Recovery by TCI, therefore, is not precluded. Analysis of the Communications Act of supports this conclusion.
The Act prohibits ” unjust or unreasonable discrimination” in a carrier’s rates, and it prevents making or giving “any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage” to any customer. The adjectives “unjust,” “undue,” and “unreasonable” clearly suggest that some kinds of “just” and “reasonable” price discrimination and preferences are not unlawful. Thus, the Act does not require this Court mcu avoid, under all circumstances, “giving a preference to and discriminating in favor of the customer in question,” the evil that mc Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sought to avoid in Marco Supply, F.
A preference that is not “undue” or “unreasonable” need not violate the statute. Section c of the Act, moreover, explicitly allows a filed tariff to provide exceptions to its rate structure. The Act forbids a regulated carrier to “refund or remit by any means or device any portion of the charges” set forth in the tariff, ” except as specified in such schedule.
Under the Act, if a filed tariff provides an exception to the tariff’s schedule of charges, then this is a possible avenue for recovery.
MCI correctly reads Marco Supply as dismissing an aggrieved customer’s tortious misrepresentation claim, mcu a clause in the relevant tariff permitting liability for “willful misconduct. But the Marco Supply Court engages in no analysis of the language or history of the Communications Act of ; instead, it simply applies blindly the doctrines that were spawned by the ICA. These two statutes are, of course, not the same.
Most significantly, the Communications Act of recognizes an exception to the filed tariff doctrine for refunds from a tariff rate that are “specified in such schedule. The ICA does not. While the facts of Marco Supply are similar mc those of the present case, the Marco Supply Court’s analysis on this limited issue is questionable, and this Court declines to follow that part of its holding.
Counts I and II of TCI’s counterclaim, alleging breach of contract and intentional misrepresentation, therefore, do not fail to state claims upon which relief can be granted. Absent “willful misconduct,” which TCI has not alleged in connection with the disruption of its long-distance service, the MCI Tariff limits MCI’s liability for interruptions to a proportionate credit allowance.
MCI Tariff, section B, para.
There is no allegation that MCI did not give mcci credit allowance in this case. No carrier, unless otherwise provided by 01444 under authority of cmi chapter, shall engage or participate in such communication unless schedules have been filed and published in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and with the regulations made thereunder; and no carrier shall 1 charge, demand, collect, or receive a greater or less or different compensation for such communication, or for any service in connection therewith, between the points named in any such schedule than the charges specified in the schedule then in effect, or 2 refund or remit by any means or device any portion of the charges so specified, or 3 extend mcl any person any privileges or facilities in such communication, or employ or enforce any classifications, regulations, or practices affecting such charges, except as specified in such schedule.
It shall be unlawful for any common carrier to make any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services for or in connection with like communication service, directly or indirectly, by any means or device, or to make or give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person, class of persons, or locality, or to subject any particular person, class of persons, or locality to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage.
Your Notes edit none. Cited By 3 This case has been cited by these opinions: Regine MCI Telecommunications v. Authorities 19 This opinion cites: Village of Bellwood, U.
Please support our work with a donation. United States District Court, D. Standards for Rule 12 b 6 When considering a motion to dismiss under Fed. Background Facts When the facts and inferences are viewed in the light most favorable to TCI, the following scenario emerges.
Tariffs Under the Communications Act of The Communications Act ofas amended, requires common carriers, including long-distance telephone carriers, to file and maintain a schedule, or tariff, of contractual terms and conditions with the FCC. If the rates are subject to secret alteration by special agreement, then the statute will fail of its purpose to establish a rate duly published, known to all, and from which neither shipper nor carrier may depart Any other construction of the statute opens the door to the possibility of the very abuses of unequal rates which it was the design of the statute to prohibit and punish.
It is so ordered. Newsletter Sign up to receive the Free Law Project newsletter with tips and announcements.