Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
August 15, 2001, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 249.
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7th Circuit Reverses Class Certification Order in Sprint Right of Way Case
8/14. The U.S. Court of Appeals (7thCir) issued its opinion in Isaacs v. Sprint, a case regarding procedure for certification of classes under FRCP 23. Sprint purchased from railroads operating in every state of the continental United States the right to install fiber optic cables on the railroads' rights of way.
Plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court (SDIll), seeking class action status on behalf of owners of the land adjacent to railroad rights of way, asserting that the right belongs to them, not to the railroads. Plaintiffs requested damages for alleged conversion. The District Court certified two plaintiff classes, one consisting of landowners adjacent to rights of way obtained by condemnation, the other of landowners adjacent to rights of way obtained by grants of public land to the railroads. Sprint filed this appeal of the order of certification. Judge Posner, writing for a three judge panel, reversed the District Court.
New Documents
USCA: opinion in Isaacs v. Sprint re Wiretap Act, 8/14 (PDF, USCA).
USCA: opinion in Isaacs v. Sprint re class certification in case involving rights of way for fiber optic cable, 8/14 (HTML, USCA).
Microsoft: reply brief re request for stay in antitrust action, 8/14 (PDF, USCA).
9th Circuit Decides Wiretap Act Case
8/14. The U.S. Court of Appeals (9thCir) issued its opinion [PDF] in Price v. Turner, a civil suit alleging violation of the Wiretap Act in connection with the monitoring of cordless phone conversations. However, since the events giving rise to this case occurred ten years ago, this appeal was decided according to state of federal law prior to the 1994 amendments to the Wiretap Act.
Frank Turner used a radio scanner to listen to and record conversations of his neighbors who used cordless telephones. These phones used analog radio signals at fixed frequencies, and hence, were easy to monitor. He heard discussions of criminal activities. Turner also informed the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department, which told him to continue, and provided him assistance. All of the intercepted phone communications at issue in this case took place prior to the 1994 amendments to the Wiretap Act. One person whose conversations he monitored was Leora Price.
Price filed a civil complaint against Frank Turner and El Dorado County alleging, among other things, violation of the Wiretap Act, invasion of privacy, and a civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The District Court granted summary judgment to defendants on all of Price's federal claims. Price appealed.
The Appeals Court wrote that "At the time of its original enactment in 1968, the Wiretap Act did not expressly refer to the monitoring of radio transmissions. When Congress enlarged the Act's coverage in 1986, Congress explicitly excepted protection for the 'radio portion of a cordless telephone communication.' ... It was not until 1994 that Congress amended the Act to prohibit the interception of cordless telephone communications." The Appeals Court affirmed.
Wednesday, August 15
1:00 PM. Privacy groups will hold a press conference on Microsoft Passport. For more information, contact Chris Hoofnagle, EPIC, at 483-1140 x108. Location: Holeman Lounge, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington DC.
More News
8/14. Afilias, the ICANN designated operator of the .info TLD registry, announced plans to challenge unqualified sunrise registrations. To qualify for a sunrise registration, the applicant for a domain name must have a registered trademark of national effect that was issued before October 2, 2000, and the trademarked word must exactly match the domain name. See, ICANN release.
8/14. Microsoft filed a reply brief [PDF] with the U.S. Court of Appeals (DCCir) in support of its motion for stay of mandate pending the Supreme Court's final disposition of Microsoft's petition for a writ of certiorari.
8/10. National Telephone Cooperative Association (NTCA) announced that Darren Pittman joined its staff as government affairs representative for financing and economic development. He previously worked for Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX). See, NTCA release.
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