Class Action Accuses AT&T Of Glomming Onto Rights Of Way

    ST. LOUIS – A federal class-action lawsuit accuses AT&T of profiting from burying fiber optic cables on private land without permission.
Lead plaintiffs William and Priscilla Martin say AT&T installed miles of cable in a railroad easement without permission from landowners. The Martins claim railroad easements are limited to railroad use only and the right of way is voided when the land ceases to be used for railroad purposes. Railroad companies cannot lease the rights of way to AT&T, the suit states. The Martins claim AT&T continued the leases though it knew it was illegal and used intimidation and threats of criminal prosecution against those who interfere with its cables. They seek damages for trespass and all revenue AT&T gained from the buried cables. The class consists of all
Missouri landowners who had a railroad easement in which AT&T buried cables. They are represented by Elizabeth Heller of Edwardsville, Ill. See complaint.

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