Verizon hit with another DSL lawsuit

Big Apple lawyers limber up

Verizon faces another class-action lawsuit in the US over its DSL service.

This time the case is being brought by New York law firm Stamell & Schager, who claim the monster telco is fair game due to allegedly misleading punters through its marketing of the high-speed Net service.

The motion was originally filed on behalf of Verizon users in Washington, Maryland, New Jersey and New York, and is now on the cards to be a nationwide class-action lawsuit - lawyers will argue for the move next month.

If they get the go-ahead, they will represent all 540,000 Verizon DSL customers (unless any opt-out). Otherwise, they plan pursue the case for individuals, according to Jason L Solotaroff, a lawyer at Stamell & Schager.

Their main claim is that Verizon marketed DSL aggressively, giving the impression that the company could handle the service. Solotaroff claims it cannot, saying the service is still basically at the beta stage - but that prospective customers would never get this information from Verizon's adverts or promotions.

He may also push for an injunction to stop Verizon advertising the service.

Another claim involves the speed of the service. Verizon has admitted that the advertised 640K package is actually the maximum speed that users can get, Solotaroff said. He described this as "not meaningful", after all, whoever complained about their Internet service being too fast?

New Yorkers have already threatened Verizon with legal eagles and won. Last year the telco paid $1.75 million compensation to end an enquiry into the city's residents' long-distance services mysteriously switching to Verizon.

But Solotaroff may have to get in line to have a pop at Verizon. Washington lawyers Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll have also filed a class-action suit against the company in DC Superior Court, using pretty similar arguments. Solotaroff says his original suit pre-dates theirs by around a year - "they're too late, we're not worried," he confided to The Reg. ®

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