Published on Dec 20, 2004

$40M Settlement For Class Action Suit


This case arose out of a charge billed to the defendant’s Michigan customers — 8.2 cents er call for every call made from a cellular phone to a land-based phone.

The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that, prior to 1996, land-line carriers including Ameritech charged this fee to cellular providers, who then passed the charge on to their customers. After 1996, the land-line carriers ceased charging this charge, but the defendant continued to assess the charge to its customers.

After four years of intense litigation in which the case was removed to federal court and remanded on two occasions, the Wayne County Circuit Court approved the parties’ settlement valued between $30.9 million – $40.3 million. Additionally, AirTouch agreed to cease the 8.2 cent charge.

The court also awarded attorneys’ fees in the amount of $6.25 million, which was reduced to $5.75 million pursuant to a negotiated cap in exchange for the defendant’s waiver of any appellate rights.

Type of action: Consumer class action

Type of injuries: Allegedly fictitious land line fees of 8.2 cents per call

Name of case: Pascussi v. AirTouch Communications, Inc.

Court/case no./date: Wayne County Circuit Court; #99-909694-CP; Jan. 20, 2004

Name of judge: Kaye Tertzag

Settlement amount: $30.9 million – $40.3 million

Attorneys for the plaintiff: E. Powell Miller, Lionel Glancy, Peter Binkow, Marc Newman, Kevin Ruf and Bill Colovos

Attorney for the defendant: Withheld