TELEPHONE BILLING PRACTICES. Citing the filed-rate doctrine, which bars deviation from published tariffs, a federal appeals court affirmed the dismissal of two class action suits against AT&T Corp. that sought damages for alleged fraud. The suite arose from AT&T's failure to disclose to its residential long-distance telecommunications customers its practice of rounding charges up to the higher full minute. (The carrier had disclosed the practice in tariffs filed with the Federal Com-munications Commission, but did not include the information in any of its advertisements or marketing materials.)
While finding some merit in the argument, the court rejected a call to modify the filed-rate doctrine to allow nondisclosure claims in light of increasing competition among long-distance carriers. Strict adherence was required, it said, absent Congressional authorization or direction from the U.S. Supreme Court. Marcus v. AT&T Corp., 138 F.3d 46, Feb. 24, 1998 (2nd Cir.).
ELECTRIC RESTRUCTURING. The Arizona Supreme Court decided on April 23 not to hear an appeal filed by electric utilities that challenged the plan by the Arizona Corporation Commission to open retail electric markets to competition beginning in 1999. The supreme court's action left standing a prior ruling by Maricopa Superior Court Judge Michael Dann, upholding the commission decision. See, www.cc.state.az.us/news/pr04-23.htm.