Level 3 Communications (Nasdaq: LVLT) and Sprint (NYSE: S) may be two of the most service providers to roll out fiber networks, but it appears that both are now caught in a lawsuit that argues that people who own or owned land next to or under railroad rights of way in Idaho may be eligible for payments.
During the early 80s and through the 1990s and beyond, Sprint and Level 3 established agreements with railroads that own or occupy the Rights of Way, and under those agreements paid the railroads for the rights to install the telecommunications equipment within the Rights of Way.
The lawsuit Koyle v. Level 3 Communications, Inc., No. 01-0286-S-BLW alleges that Sprint and Level 3 were required to get permission from landowners who owned the land under the rights of way before they could install in necessary telecom equipment and fiber conduit and cabling. Both Sprint and Level 3 deny any wrongdoing and argue that the permission they got from the railroad companies were sufficient even in areas where the railroad did not own all property right in the rights of way.
In addition to providing cash payments to qualifying class members, the proposed settlement would provide Sprint and Level 3 with a permanent telecommunications easement, which would allow them to use the railroad rights of way for their telecommunications equipment.
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