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Chruby v. Global Tel*Link Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

March 10, 2015

WALTER CHRUBY, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
GLOBAL TEL*LINK CORPORATION, Defendant

For Walter Chruby, Class Representative, Plaintiff: Susan L. Burke, LEAD ATTORNEY, Burke PLLC, Washington, DC.

For Global Tel*Link Corporation, Defendant: John Christopher Rozendaal, Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel PLLC, Washington, DC; Michael Richard Sklaire, Greenberg Traurig LLP (McLean), McLean, VA.

Page 400

ORDER

Gerald Bruce Lee, United States District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Walter Churby's Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 29) and Motion for Transfer (Doc. 47). This case arises from a class action suit against Defendant Global Tel*Link Corporation (" GTL" ) for violation of the Federal Communications Act (" FCA" ) (Count I), unjust enrichment (Count II), and violation of the Sherman Act (Count III).

There are two issues before the court. The first issue is whether the Court should grant Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration as to the Court's January 14, 2015 Order staying the case, where Plaintiff argues that the D.C Circuit's order holding in abeyance the related matter is a change of material fact directly bearing on the specific factors previously considered by the Court in rendering its decision on Defendant's Motion to Stay. The Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration and LIFTS the previously ordered STAY because the D.C. Circuit Court's Order granting Respondent's Uncontested Motion to Hold the Cases in Abeyance in Global Tel Link v. FCC, No. 13-1281, (D.C. Cir. 2014) serves as a significant change in facts rendering reconsideration appropriate.

The second issue before the Court is whether the Court should grant Plaintiff's Motion to Transfer, where Plaintiff argues that a transfer would be in the best interest of justice as well as the convenience of the parties and witnesses. Defendant does not oppose the transfer, if the stay is lifted. The Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Transfer to avoid duplicative litigation,

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inconveniencing parties and witnesses, and to encourage consolidation and coordination with the related lawsuits already pending in that court.

Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration and thus LIFTS the previously ordered STAY, and also GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Transfer to the Western District of Arkansas.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's, incarcerated inmates and family members, assert class action claims against Defendant Global Tel*Link Corporation (" GTL" ), an inmate calling service (" ICS" ) provider, for engaging in rate discrimination and overcharging inmates and their families for telephone services. First. Am. Compl. (hereinafter " Compl." ) ¶ 2. Plaintiff's assert three causes of action: (1) violation of the Federal Communications Act (" FCA" ) (47 U.S.C. § § 201, 202, 276) (Count I), (2) unjust enrichment (Count II), and(3) violation of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § § 1, 13) (Count III). Compl. ¶ 83, 88, 92, 93.

Global Tel*Link Corporation is a telecommunications provider for inmates housed in certain state prisons and jails throughout the country. Def.'s Supp. Br. at 2. The Federal Communications Commission (" FCC" ) regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. Pis.' Opp'n Br. at 2. The FCC interprets and applies the Federal Communications Act (" FCA" ), which regulates inmate telephone services in correctional facilities as a form of payphone services. Pis.' Opp'n Br. at 2-3; 47 U.S.C. § 276(d). The FCA requires ICS providers, such as GTL, to charge only " just and reasonable" rates for telephone services provided to inmates. Pis.' Opp'n Br. at 3; 47 U.S.C. § 201(b).

On September 26, 2013, the FCC released a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (" Order" ) requiring ICS rates to be " cost-based" and implementing interim rate caps for ICS interstate calls. Def.'s Supp. Br. at 3-4; 78 Fed.Reg. 67956 (Nov. 13, 2013). Specifically, the Order classifies " site commission payments" as " profits" rather than " costs," and finds that such payments cannot be passed along to customers in the form of rates. Pis.' Opp'n Br. at 4; 78 Fed.Reg. at 67962-63. GTL and other ICS providers filed a petition for review of the Order to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and filed a motion to stay the implementation of the Order, which was scheduled to take effect on February 11, 2014. Def.'s Supp. Br. at 5; 78 Fed.Reg. at 67956. On January 13, 2014, the D.C. Circuit stayed the portions of ...


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