CGM, LLC v. BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. No. 10-1693

Decided: Dec. 8, 2011

CGM, LLC, a billing agent for competitive local exchange carriers, brought a declaratory judgment action against BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., an incumbent local exchange carrier. CGM claimed that BellSouth offered long-term promotional discounts to its own customers but it failed, in violation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and rules implementing it, to pass the full value of those discounts on to CGM’s client competitive local exchange carriers. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of the case on the grounds that CGM has no statutory standing under the 1996 Act or an inapplicable statute from the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1934. Statutory standing is essentially a question of statutory construction. The court held that because the statute’s resale duties exist only as embodied in interconnection agreements, and because CGM has no interconnection agreement with BellSouth and did not bring the suit pursuant to any interconnection agreement, CGM has no rights and BellSouth has no duties under the statute. Further, the Declaratory Judgments Act is remedial only and therefore does not extend federal courts’ jurisdiction or confer standing on CGM.

Full Opinion

-Sara I. Salehi

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