Current and Former Owners of Land Next to or Under Railroad Rights of Way in Idaho May be Eligible for Cash Payments from a Class Action Settlement

Mar 15, 2011, 09:00 ET from Class Counsel

BOISE, Idaho, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Class Counsel in Koyle v. Level 3 Communications, Inc., No. 01-0286-S-BLW announced that preliminary approval of a Proposed Settlement was granted by the United States District Court for the District of Idaho.  The lawsuit involves Telecommunications Facilities, such as fiber-optic cable that is buried in railroad Rights of Way.  People who own or owned land next to or under railroad Rights of Way in Idaho may be eligible to receive benefits.

Sprint Communications Company L.P. and Level 3 Communications, LLC are companies that are engaged in the maintenance and commercial use of fiber-optic telecommunications systems.  Beginning in the early 1980s, the companies or their predecessors buried fiber-optic cable and installed related telecommunications equipment within railroad Rights of Way across the United States.  A railroad Right of Way is a strip of land on which a railroad company builds and operates a railroad.  Sprint and Level 3 entered into agreements with the railroads that own or occupy the Rights of Way, and under those agreements paid the railroads for the rights to install the telecommunications equipment within the Rights of Way at issue in the case.

The lawsuit alleges that, before installing the telecommunications equipment, the communications companies were required also to obtain consent from those landowners who owned the land under the Rights of Way.   Sprint and Level 3 contend that the permissions granted by the railroads were sufficient, even where the railroad did not own all property rights in the Rights of Way, and deny any wrongdoing.

Class Members include current or previous owners of land next to or under a railroad Right of Way, at any time since the cable was installed, in the following counties:  Minidoka, Lincoln, Gooding, Elmore, Ada, Canyon, Kootenai, and Bonner.  Class members can find out when fiber-optic cable was installed in a particular Right of Way by visiting or calling 1-877-625-9417.  Class members will have an opportunity to claim cash benefits if the Court approves the Proposed Settlement.

The Proposed Settlement will provide cash payments to qualifying class members based on various factors that include:

  • the length of the Right of Way where the cable is installed,
  • the length of time they owned the property, and
  • whether the Right of Way was created by a federal land grant.

The Proposed Settlement will also provide Sprint and Level 3 with a permanent Telecommunications Easement, which gives them the right to use the railroad Rights of Way for their telecommunications equipment.

For more information regarding the Class Action visit or call 1-877-625-9417.

SOURCE Class Counsel