WASHINGTON, July 15 /PRNewswire/ -- A class action notice program began today as ordered by the Illinois Circuit Court for St. Clair County to those who own or have owned property underlying or next to railroad rights of way where Qwest fiber-optic cable was installed. Notices will be mailed to at least 12,500 landowners in Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin, and widely published in the media. The notices are a result of the Court establishing, or "certifying," a class action lawsuit against Qwest Communications International, Inc., Qwest Communications Corporation, USLD Communications Corporation and Qwest Network Construction Services involving the use and operation of the fiber-optic cable. This lawsuit is about whether Qwest unlawfully trespassed on land owned by Class Members. Qwest installed fiber-optic cable on railroad rights of way throughout the eight states involved in this class action. Qwest made contracts with railroads and paid money to railroads to get permission from the railroads to install the fiber-optic cable. Qwest did not get permission from the landowners who owned the land under or next to the railroad right of way. The lawsuit claims that the agreements that Qwest had with railroads did not give them the rights they needed to lawfully use the property without also getting permission from the landowners in the Class. Qwest denies the claims against them, and claim that Class Members are not entitled to compensation. The Class includes those who own or owned property in Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin, under or next to railroad rights of way where Qwest installed, operates or uses fiber-optic cable. The landowners are represented by John Massopust and Daniel Millea of Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette LLP in Minneapolis, MN; Elizabeth Heller of Goldenberg, Miller, Heller & Antognoli, P.C. in Edwardsville, IL; Kevin Hoerner of Becker, Paulson, Hoerner & Thompson, P.C. in Belleville, IL; Nels Ackerson and Kathleen Kauffman of Ackerson Kauffman Fex, PC in Washington, DC; Henry Price of Price, Waicukauski, Riley & DeBrota, LLC in Indianapolis, IN; Roger Johnson of Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, LLP in Washington, DC; and Catherine Colinvaux of Zelle, Hofmann, Voelbel, Mason & Gette LLP in Waltham, MA. Affected landowners may choose to exclude themselves from any potential compensation that may result if Qwest is found liable in the case. Those who wish to stay in the Class don't have to do anything now, and will be able to participate in any compensation that may result from the trial or any settlement. Those who wish to be excluded can send a letter, by September 13, 2005, to Qwest Class Action, P.O. Box 130993, Dallas, TX 75313-0993. Or an exclusion request form is available at http://www.qwestfiberopticclassaction.com or by writing to the address above.
SOURCE Illinois Circuit Court for St. Clair County