North Carolina Business Litigation Report

They Can't Hear You Now: Fourth Circuit Dismisses Class Action Based On Cellphone Carrier's Coverage Maps

Maybe, when you decided which cellphone provider to sign on with, you took a look at its coverage map showing what excellent coverage you would have throughout the country.

If you relied on that map in picking your carrier, you probably shouldn't have. That's the essence of an unpublished decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday in Johnson v. Sprint Solutions, Inc.

The claim by Johnson was that Sprint had charged her roaming fees in areas where she said its coverage maps showed she should have been within the carrier's coverage. Her core allegation was "that various maps provided and displayed by Sprint formed part of [her contract with Sprint], and that these maps outlined where Sprint customers would, and would not, be subject to roaming fees."  She sought class certification on her claims.

The Court agreed that the maps were a part of the contract, but held based on the written agreements signed by Johnson that the maps "were no more than approximate representations of service coverage areas and provided no geographic promises depicting where Johnson could and would not be subject to roaming fees." 

The dismissal of Plaintiff's claims was affirmed.

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Mack Sperling
Brooks Pierce, LLP
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