AT&T is now suing the law firms that have been seeking to block the $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. Back in July, New York-based law firm Bursor & Fisher began a “Fight the Merger” campaign in which they encouraged AT&T customers to file arbitration cases against the carrier to challenge the merger. So far, the firm has already filed 26 arbitration demands and over 900 notices of dispute on behalf of AT&T customers.
Arbitration cases are being filed instead of class-action lawsuits due to the result of the AT&T vs. Concepcion case last November, in which the Supreme Court sided with AT&T allowing their phone contracts to contain a mandatory arbitration clause that waived customers’ rights to class-action lawsuits against the company. Hence, Bursor & Fisher began encouraging customers opposing the merger to individually file arbitration complaints, hoping to file thousands of such complaints.
AT&T has already said that the claims are without merit and that an arbitrator does not have the authority to block a merger or affect the process and now it’s suing the law firm for its abusive actions. The carrier says that these individual claims are an attempt to act as a class and that their arbitration agreement prohibits any form of class-wide relief.
However, Bursor & Fisher partner Scott Bursor insists that the American Arbitration Association has already overruled AT&T’s objections and moved forward with the arbitration process.