Current and Former Owners of Land Next to or Under Railroad Rights of Way May Be Eligible for Cash Payments from Class Action Settlements

Mar 07, 2013, 09:00 ET from Kinsella Media, LLC

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following class-action Settlements are being announced by Court-approved Notice-program designer, Kinsella Media LLC:

Courts have granted preliminary approval for multiple class-action Settlements involving fiber-optic cable and related telecommunications equipment that has been installed in railroad Rights of Way. These Settlements resolve lawsuits in a number of states across the country, and will provide cash benefits to current and former owners of land next to or under the Rights of Way.

Sprint, Qwest, Level 3, and WilTel Communications, the Defendants, are telecommunications companies. Beginning in the mid-1980s, the companies or their predecessors buried fiber-optic cable and installed related telecommunications equipment within railroad Rights of Way nationwide.  A railroad Right of Way is a strip of land on which a railroad company builds and operates a railroad.  The Defendants entered into agreements with the railroads that own and occupy the Rights of Way, and under those agreements paid the railroads for the rights to install the fiber-optic cable and related telecommunications equipment within the Rights of Way.

Plaintiffs allege that, before installing the fiber-optic cable and related telecommunications equipment, the Defendants also were required to obtain consent from those landowners who owned the land under the Rights of Way. The Defendants contend that the railroads had the right to allow them to use the Rights of Way without the need for further permission from the adjoining landowners 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 12 states:  California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Washington.  Settlements have previously been reached in an additional 29 states.

Class members can find out when fiber-optic cable was installed in a particular Right of Way by visiting or calling 1-800-378-1670. Class members will have an opportunity to claim cash benefits if the Court approves the Proposed Settlements.

The Proposed Settlements 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 Settlements will also provide the Defendants with a permanent Telecommunications Easement, which gives them the right to use the railroad Rights of Way for their fiber-optic cable and related telecommunications equipment, if they don't already have that right.

For more information regarding the Class Actions visit, or call 1-800-378-1670.

SOURCE Kinsella Media, LLC