GCB Communications, Inc. v. U.S. South Communications. Inc.

Brief for Appellant (primary jurisdiction, etc.)


The central legal question presented in this appeal is whether a district court lacks the power to entertain a private right of action for damages under the Communications Act, based solely on FCC regulations, where the agency itself has not determined that violation is an "unreasonable practice." The case arises from an arcane area of telecommunications regulation known as per-call payphone compensation, but boils down the interesting — and far more significant than the mere $18,000 in controversy — question of whether a court may disregard an agency's own construction of its rules based on a finding that the agency's underlying facts were incorrect. The third major issue presented is under what circumstances a district court may award attorneys’ fees that are hugely disproportionate to (i.e., quadruple the amount of) a plaintiff’s compensatory damages pursuant to a statute authorizing “reasonable” attorneys’ fees, including whether attorneys' fees, like punitive damages, are constrained by the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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Reference Info:Appellate Brief | Federal, 9th Circuit, Arizona | United States

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