On September 30, 2021, the Honorable Lydia Kay Griggsby of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland denied in part and granted in part Defendants’ motion to dismiss this class action alleging price-fixing and kickback scheme to inflate the prices of single call collect calls placed by inmates from correctional facilities located within the United States, among defendants Global Tel* Link Corp. (“GTL”), Securus Technologies, LLC (“Securus”) and 3Cinteractive Corp. (“3Ci”) in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”).
 

Specifically, the Court denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss the antitrust claims, noting “In sum, when read in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, the court is satisfied that the complaint contains plausible Sherman Antitrust Act claims that plaintiffs should be allowed to further develop through the discovery process." The Court, however, granted Defendants’ challenge to the RICO claims.  Plaintiffs have moved to amend the complaint to include additional allegations in support of their RICO claims or, in the alternative, for permission to appeal the Court’s dismissal of those claims.

Case Background

On June 29, 2020, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Handley Farah & Anderson PLLC, Justice Catalyst Law, Human Rights Defense Center, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs filed a nationwide antitrust class action against Global Tel*Link Corp. (GTL), Securus Technologies, LLC (Securus), and 3Cinteractive Corp. (3CI) in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants secretly fixed inflated prices for out-bound collect calls between prison inmates and their family members, friends, attorneys, and others, while lying to local governments about the costs per call and pocketing the difference, in violation of federal antitrust and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) laws.

Over the past ten years, Securus and then GTL, the nation’s two largest providers of inmate calling services, sold a new type of call from prisons—the “single call.” These “single calls” charged an astronomical price, i.e. $14.99 or $9.99, to accept a one-time collect call from an incarcerated person. Plaintiffs allege that Securus and GTL were able to charge these excessive “single call” prices by secretly agreeing to eliminate competition between them and to fix the same inflated “single call” prices to consumers in violation of federal antitrust laws.

To justify charging such high prices for “single calls,” Securus and GTL claimed, in communications with governments, that most of the prices consisted of “transaction fees” paid to 3CI, a telecommunications payment and processing company, to implement the calls. Defendants made similar representations to consumers. Plaintiffs allege that, in reality, Securus and GTL paid 3CI a mere fraction of the supposed “transaction fees” and secretly pocketed the difference, in violation of RICO.

This class action seeks to prevent Defendants from continuing their unlawful misconduct and to recover financial damages for the victims of that misconduct.

Case name: Albert et al. v. Global Tel*Link Corp. et al., Civil Action No. 8:20-cv-01936, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland