Lawsuit Over Phone Charge Certified as Class Action

Lawsuit Over Phone Charge Certified as Class Action

February 8, 2002

THEY’RE PUTTING OLYMPPICS MEDIA IN THEIR PLACE

Crainsdetroit.com
February 18, 2002

Imagine people who want to help with a media feeding frenzy … Well, two employees at Campbell & Co. in Dearborn have taken some time off to help the Salt Lake Organizing Committee accommodate members of the media covering the Winter Olympics.

The duties of Account Director Kurt Kosmowski and Senior Account Executive Andrew Punzal include organizing care and feeding of the press and connecting interpreters with foreign journalists, said Account Director Lincoln Hill at Campbell.

Kosmowski, who also worked at the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games in 1996, is at the bobsled, luge and skeleton venue. Punzal is at the Alpine skiing venue.

Kosmowski said he has 200-300 members of the media to look after every day in his area. He and two other managers oversee 100 assistants.

A recession in casino biz? Don’t bet on it in Detroit There is no recession when it comes to the gambling business.

Detroit’s three casinos, buoyed by the Detroit North American International Auto Show and other downtown events, had their best month ever collectively in January, registering revenue of almost $94.8 million.

MotorCity Casino L.L.C. retained more than $33.3 million after payouts, that casino’s best revenue month since opening in December 1999.

MGM Grand Detroit L.L.C. logged its third best month since opening in July 1999, with $35.23 million. Greektown Casino L.L.C. took in $26.2 million, sixth best of its 15 months of operation starting in December 1999.

January casino revenue resulted in $7.7 million paid to the state and $9.4 million paid to the city of Detroit in wagering taxes.

Lighthouse’s Keating wins Unsung Heroines Award

The Arlington, Va.-based Mitsubishi Motors USA Foundation plans to present its Unsung Heroines Award to Noreen Keating, director of Lighthouse of Oakland County Inc. in Pontiac, March 7 in Washington.

The Unsung Heroines Award honors women who provide charitable services in their communities. Lighthouse provides food, clothing, shelter and medical care to people in need.

U.S. senators nominate the award winners. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., nominated Keating, said Markia Reynolds, Keating’s administrative assistant.

Keating and three other award winners are scheduled to appear on the Public Broadcasting Service television show “To The Contrary,” which presents women’s perspectives.

Mitsubishi, along with “To The Contrary,” awards each winner $5,000 to support her activities.

Lawsuit over phone charge certified as class action “Seven and a half cents doesn’t mean a helluva lot …” goes a line from the 1950s Broadway musical “Pajama Game,” but 8.2 cents made enough difference to have Wayne County Circuit Judge Kaye Tertzag certify a class action in a lawsuit against AirTouch Cellular and Verizon Wireless.

Troy attorney E. Powell Miller filed the lawsuit in 1996 on behalf of Scott Yaldo and “thousands of other cell-phone users” who were charged 8.2 cents a call to landline phones. The lawsuit alleges that this charge at one time was a direct pass-through of a charge being billed to the cellular company by Ameritech Michigan. At some point in the 1990s, the lawsuit said, Ameritech stopped billing that charge. But AirTouch, now Verizon, never did.

“It amounts to tens of thousands of dollars,” Miller said. The lawsuit moved from Wayne Circuit Court to U.S. District Court and back. Last month Miller, in an emergency motion, asked Judge Tertzag to certify the class of cell-phone users to prevent a pending California lawsuit from settling out similar claims across the country without giving Michigan phone users their day in court.

“The court had to take measures to protect the interests of consumers in Michigan,” Tertzag said. But he directed Miller to meet with AirTouch lawyers from Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone plc to try to settle the case. He asked retired Wayne Circuit Chief Judge Richard Kaufman, now with Farmington Hills-based Fink, Zausmer & Kaufman P.C., to handle the negotiations. Kaufman said progress is being made and talks will continue March 10.

Detroiter tapped to chair MEDC’s top committee Michigan’s economic-development agency now has a Detroit businessman heading its board: General Motors Corp. executive Matt Cullen.

Cullen, general manager of GM’s enterprise activities group, has become chairman of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s executive committee, replacing Domino’s Pizza L.L.C. Chairman and CEO David Brandon. The 15-member executive committee sets MEDC policy and approves the corporation’s annual operating plan.

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