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NORTH COUNTY COMMUNICATIONS v. VERIZON NEW YORK
November 14, 2002
NORTH COUNTY COMMUNICATIONS CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
VERIZON NEW YORK, INC.; VERIZON SERVICES CORPORATION; AND DOES 1 THROUGH 100, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: David N. Hurd, United States District Judge
MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER
Plaintiff, North County Communications Corporation ("North County"),
brought suit in New York State court against Verizon New York, Inc.
("VNY" or "Verizon"), Verizon Services Corporation ("Verizon"), and Does
1 through 100. After Verizon filed a notice to remove the action to
federal district court, North County moved to remand it back to state
court. The parties have fully briefed the issues. Oral argument was held
on October 11, 2002, in Utica, New York. Decision was reserved.
Taken from plaintiff's complaint, the following are the alleged facts.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 expanded competitive possibilities in
local exchange markets by essentially allowing smaller telephone
companies to more easily "interconnect" their networks with those of
larger, more established companies. These smaller companies are known,
under the Telecommunications Act and elsewhere, as competitive local
exchange carriers ("CLECs"), and the larger companies are known as
incumbent local exchange carriers ("ILECs").
On March 14, 2001, North County, as a CLEC, notified Verizon of its
intent to interconnect with Verizon networks in New York State. VNY is an
ILEC. North County claims that in the six months following, Verizon
"deliberately dragged [its] feet and put up obstacles and roadblocks to
keep [North County] out of the local telecommunications market in New
York, all for the purpose of maintaining [VNY's] grip on the local
telephone market, depriving consumers of maximum choice with their
telecommunications dollar and damaging [North County] in the process."
(Complaint, ¶ 6). North County claims that the Verizon account manager
assigned to service North County's needs, Dianne McKernan, "stonewall[ed]
the interconnection process by making unreasonable, onerous and
unnecessary demands upon [North County." (Complaint, ¶ 17).
North County also lists other conduct to support its belief that
Verizon was behaving in a manner consistent with maintaining monopolistic
power over the New York City telecommunications market. Specifically,
North County claims Verizon:
(1) repeatedly lost orders and signature pages;
(2) ignored [North County's] request to opt into an
existing interconnections [sic] agreement between
[VNY] and another CLEC, as was North County's right;
(3) insisted on installing equipment on unnecessary
additional racks at the location where [North County]
was subleasing space, despite the absence of any
technical reason to impose such a requirement, and
needlessly raising the cost of doing business for
(4) refused to allow [North County] to order
interconnection trunks, thus preventing [North County]
from being able to order prefixes;
(5) refused to build trunks in as timely a fashion as
with other service offerings, and as if [North County]
were a retail customer;
(6) demanded that [North County] provide the
defendants with information which [North County] was
unable to provide because the information resided in
the defendants' sole possession, and then delayed the
interconnection process further when ...
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