Logourl black
From our private database of 13,800+ case briefs...

Cellphone Termination Fee Cases

California Court of Appeal for the First District
193 Cal.App.4th 298 (2011)


Facts

In 2003, several individuals (collectively Plaintiffs) filed lawsuits in a number of California counties alleging that the practice by cellular service provider Sprint Spectrum, L.P. (Sprint) (defendant) of charging early termination fees (ETFs) to its customers violated § 1671(d) of the state’s Civil Code. The various cases were consolidated. At trial, Plaintiffs argued that the ETFs were adopted and used by Sprint to stop erosion of its customer base by penalizing early termination of customer contracts as a revenue opportunity. Conversely, Sprint claimed that the ETF was a part of the price the customer paid for the “bundle” of the handset and cellular service and was necessary to offset rate reductions in long-term service plans. Additionally, to challenge Plaintiffs’ claims that the ETF’s were unlawful liquidated damage provisions, Sprint sought to prove that its actual damages were substantially greater than the fees charged. The jury found for the Plaintiffs and assessed over $225 million in actual damages. The court then ordered nearly $74 million in restitution to be paid to Plaintiffs; enjoined Sprint from further efforts to collect ETF’s assessed during the class period; and ordered Sprint to advise third party assignees of uncollected claims of the court’s order. The court then questioned the validity of the jury’s damages award and applied the setoff in favor of Sprint and found that neither the Plaintiff nor Sprint would be entitled to any monetary recovery. The trial court reasoned that the jury had failed to follow its instructions on Sprint’s actual damages and granted the plaintiff’s motion for a partial new trial on that issue. Sprint appealed.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Bruiniers, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 170,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.