Class Action Avoidance

Celerity's utility client was sued by a group of plaintiffs who owned properties on which the utility had easement for electricity poles. The plaintiffs alleged that the utility trespassed on their properties by installing fiber-optic lines along its utility easements and leasing or licensing rights in the fiber-optic lines to telecommunications and Internet companies without their consent. They sought certification of their suit as a class action. Celerity collected and reviewed all of the easements (almost 20,000) relating to where the fiber optic companies had attachments. Celerity then coded key fields (such as owner, date, agreement type, and keywords found within the granting language), analyzed the data for commonality, and summarized the results for the client's legal team. Based on the results, which showed that all homeowners did not share the same legal issues, the trial court denied the motion to certify.