n the U.S District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Judge Matthew F. Kennelly recently held that plaintiffs alleging price-fixing in the text messaging market were not entitled to an adverse inference after failing to prove that defendants T-Mobile and CTIA destroyed emails in bad faith. Judge Kennelly also granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, as plaintiffs were unable to meet the elevated pleading burden for collusion to fix prices for text messages in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The plaintiffs had filed suit on behalf of customers who used pay-per-text-message services from Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
The Wall Street Journal published an article in September 2008, titled “Text Messaging Rates Come under Scrutiny,” inspired primarily by the antitrust investigation of Senator Herbert Kohl. The day the article was published, a T-Mobile employee allegedly sent the text of the article via e-mail to both Adrian Hurditch, the company’s former Vice President of Services and Strategic Pricing, and Lisa Roddy, the company’s former Director of Marketing Planning and Analysis. Hurditch and Roddy e-mailed each other about the article; however, that e-mail thread no longer exists.