A team led by Wiley Rein communications attorney Andrew G. McBride scored a major victory in a class action against Verizon Wireless brought by consumers alleging that an administrative charge was improperly imposed on their accounts. In Litman v. Cellco Partnership (D.N.J. Sept. 29, 2008), the court dismissed the consumer class action against Verizon Wireless on the grounds that the service contract required individual arbitration and therefore precluded the plaintiffs from going directly to court as a class. The court held that the Federal Arbitration Act required that the arbitration clause in the service contract be enforced.
Other courts, including the Ninth Circuit, have come to the opposite conclusion, holding that individual arbitration clauses are unconscionable under state law because they preclude collective action and collective remedies in cases where individual damages are relatively small. The issue is likely to find its way to the Supreme Court in the next several years.
Wiley Rein LLP partner H. Jason Gold, the court-authorized liquidating trustee for the bankruptcy estate of Dornier Aviation North America (DANA), has announced that the civil judgment of $14 million entered against Hainan Airlines, a major international airline based in China, has become final. Suit had been brought in December 2003 to recover unpaid accounts and compensation for aircraft parts being held in China. United States Bankruptcy Judge Steven S. Mitchell conducted the trial in August 2006. Gold was represented by attorneys from the law firm of Wiley Rein LLP, including partners Alexander M. Laughlin and Todd A. Bromberg, as well as associates Kalina B. Miller and Dylan G. Trache.