VERIZON v. TRINKO, LLP

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
02-682
Petitioner 
Verizon Communications Inc.
Respondent 
Law Offices of Curtis V. Trinko, LLP
Advocates
(argued the cause for Respondent)
(argued the cause for Petitioner)
(argued the cause for Petitioner, on behalf of the United States, as amicus curiae)
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Facts of the Case 

Curtis Trinko was an AT&T; customer but received service on lines owned by Verizon, which AT&T; was permitted to use for a fee under the anti-monopoly 1996 Telecommunications Act. Trinko claimed that Verizon discriminated against AT&T; customers by providing them worse service than it provided to its own customers. He claimed that this violated both the Telecommunications Act and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, which prohibits monopolies from aggressively defending their monopoly position in the market. A federal district court ruled that Trinko had no grounds to sue because he was not a direct customer of Verizon. A 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals panel, however, reinstated the charges leveled under the Sherman Act.

Question 

When a company fails to meet its duty to share its network with competitors under the Telecommunications Act, can it be sued under the Sherman Act?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Verizon, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Sherman

No. In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court held that the complaint alleging breach of Verizon's Telecommunication Act duties to share its network with competitors did not state a claim under the Sherman Act. The Court reasoned that the 1996 act did not alter antitrust law or add new claims and that Verizon did not violate preexisting antitrust standards. The justices declined to add a new claim by making an exception to the rule that businesses need not aid competitors.

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VERIZON v. TRINKO, LLP. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 June 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2003/2003_02_682>.
VERIZON v. TRINKO, LLP, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2003/2003_02_682 (last visited June 20, 2014).
"VERIZON v. TRINKO, LLP," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed June 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2003/2003_02_682.