Northwest Public Communications Council v. Qwest

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 07-27-2016
  • Case #: A150775
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. For the Court; Hadlock, C.J.; & Tookey, J.

A local exchange carrier “who seeks to rely on the waiver granted in the instant Order must reimburse its customers or provide credit from April 15, 1997 in situations where the newly tariffed rates, when effective, are lower than the existing tariffed rates.” Judicial estoppel is a common law equitable principle that applies to prevent a litigant who has benefitted from a position taken in an earlier judicial proceeding from taking an inconsistent position in a later proceeding.

Northwest Public Communications Council (NPCC), provides payphone services to the public, filed a complaint with the Oregon Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in 2001. In that complaint, NPCC asked the PUC to order Qwest Corporation, to pay refunds to NPCC’s members, NPCC for charging excessive rates. NPCC sought judicial review of a final order of the PUC granting Qwest’s motion for summary judgment and dismissing NPCC’s complaint. In three assignments of error, NPCC raised a number of contentions. Included among those are assertions that the PUC erred in granting Qwest’s motion for summary judgment and in denying NPCC’s request to amend its complaint to add additional claims for refunds. Most of NPCC's assertions were dismissed by the Court without discussion. The Court did discuss, however, the issue of judicial estoppel. the Court found that Qwest was not estopped from aruging that they did not rely on a Waiver Order in this case. Affirmed.

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