The U.S. Chamber urged the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania to affirm a trial court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by a Pennsylvania county against dozens of telecommunication companies alleging that they had under-billed 9-1-1 taxes used to fund county emergency response services. This case is just one of a host of similar cases brought by contingency-fee counsel and contingency-fee consulting services in courts throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. According to the Chamber’s amicus brief, the Pennsylvania legislature granted a state agency, PEMA, the exclusive authority to enforce the 911 Act. The Chamber argued that it would be improper for the court to accept the county’s invitation to craft a common law right of action to enforce the 911 Act. Additionally, the Chamber argued that the outsourcing of civil enforcement actions to contingency-fee counsel violates the Due Process Clause, and encourages the prosecution of cases that are not in the best interests of the citizenry.
The Chamber was joined on the brief by the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.
Robert C. Heim, Jennings F. Durand, and Ellen L. Mossman of Dechert LLP served as counsel for the amici.