News
July 20, 2005

Sprint announced last week that it would purchase Firm client US Unwired's outstanding common stock and assume its outstanding debt for a total acquisition cost of about $1.3 billion.  As part of the deal, US Unwired agreed to dismiss two lawsuits against Sprint that had been filed by Jenner & Block in a Louisiana federal court.

US Unwired, based in Lake Charles, Louisiana, owns and operates wireless telecommunications networks.  As a network partner (or “affiliate”) of Sprint, US Unwired spent over $600 million to build out networks for Sprint services in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. US Unwired had the exclusive right to provide wireless telecommunications without competition from Sprint within US Unwired’s service areas.

US Unwired sued Sprint in 2003 contending that Sprint had violated the federal RICO act by forcing US Unwired to cede control over critical business functions.  A two-week bench trial before the federal district judge Patricia Minaldi concluded June 30 and a decision was expected shortly.  In denying Sprint's motion for judgment at the close of the plaintiffs case, Judge Minaldi found that US Unwired had presented more than sufficient evidence of Sprint's misconduct.  US Unwired sought damages of about $885 million after trebling as required by RICO.  US Unwired's stock price rose about 50% in the weeks preceding and during the trial.  The Firm’s trial team were Partners Chester T. Kamin, Andrew A. Jacobson, Christopher D. Liguori, and Matt D. Basil and Associates Terence G. Banich II, Darren J. Schmidt, Jennifer A. Hasch, Daniel S. Dooley, Robert J. Blazejowski, William R. Lee, and Adam A. Hachikian.

Jenner & Block had also filed suit against Sprint on June 21 in an attempt to block Sprint's planned $35.9 billion merger with Nextel Communications, Inc. because the deal would have resulted in a violation of US Unwired's exclusive service areas. That case was also before Judge Minaldi, who had set a hearing on US Unwired's motion for preliminary injunction on July 15.  The Jenner & Block legal team on this litigation included Mr. Kamin and Partner Jeffrey A. Koppy and Associates Thomas P. Monroe, Bethany K. Biesenthal, and Erin O'Connell.