Railroad rights of way class action suits on fiber deployments near settlement - Lightwave

Railroad rights of way class action suits on fiber deployments near settlement

Lightwave Staff

A series of class action suits against such well-known current and past fiber-optic network operators as Sprint, Qwest, Level 3, and WilTel Communications over whether they had buried fiber cable along railroad lines without the proper permission appears to be nearing conclusion. Settlements are being announced by Court-approved notice-program designer Kinsella Media LLC.

Finding rights of way for fiber-optic cable deployments is an ongoing challenge for carriers looking to expand their footprints. Beginning in the 1980s, the lawsuits allege, operators found willing partners in railroads, who leased rights within the easements landowners had granted them to lay track and other infrastructure.

However, the plaintiffs have asserted that the easement rights they granted the railroads didn't give the railroads sole authority to lease those rights of way for fiber deployments. Carriers should have asked permission of the landowners who continued to own the land under the rights of way,  according to the suits, which have been filed in courtrooms around the United States (see “Another bubble fallout: right-of-way lawsuits”).

The carriers, naturally, argue this isn’t the case and deny wrongdoing. Nevertheless, Kinsella Media says that several courts have granted preliminary approval for multiple class-action settlements of the cases that will provide monetary compensation to current and former owners of land next to or under the rights of way.

Class members who may be eligible for payouts 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, Kinsella notes. Meanwhile, suits in Arizona, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Texas are still pending.

In exchange for the cash payments, the carrier defendants will receive a permanent easement giving them rights to have their fiber cables occupy space in the rights of way, if they haven’t acquired such rights already.

More information on the suits and settlements can be found at www.FiberOpticSettlements.com.

For more information on fiber cable and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

Get the Lightwave Newsletter Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on

  • Service Providers
  • Datacom/Data Center
  • Enabling Technologies
  • Stephen Hardy's Friday 5 Video

Post a Comment

Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.

Related Companies


AFL connects people and solutions to the communities we serve. We manufacture, engineer and install the fiber optic products and equipment that communication...

Prysmian Telecom Cables & Systems

Offers a full line of optical fiber cables, including ADSS, OPGW, long-haul, FTTH, indoor/outdoor, premise and industrial designs which include an industry-l...

Liteway Inc

Uses the latest semiconductor and optical technology to design and manufacture communication products that transport video, audio and data signals over fiber...

Related Products

Fujikura 70S Fusion Splicer

The Fujikura 70S is a fully ruggedized, core alignment fusion splicer, providing consistent, low loss, spli...

Poli-MOD Patch and Splice Module

AFL's new Poli-MOD is an innovative patch and splice module, which offers an inventive and effective means ...

Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) Indoor/Outdoor Breakout Cable

AFL's Indoor/Outdoor Breakout Cables are perfectly suited for rugged applications and installations requiri...


Isolating, Testing, and Troubleshooting FTTx Drops in the Last Mile

( 11/18/2015 / 01:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time / 12:30 PM Central Daylight Time / 10:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time / 18:30 GMT )
Sponsored by

Measurement Approaches That Enable PAM4 to Meet Emerging Requirements in Data Communications Beyond 100Gb/sec

( 10/29/2015 / 01:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time / 12:00 PM Central Daylight Time / 10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time / 17:00 GMT )
Sponsored by

Realizing More Services and Revenue Over PON

( 10/19/2015 / 01:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time / 12:00 PM Central Daylight Time / 10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time / 17:00 GMT )
Sponsored by

Social Activity