Sprint Seeks to Block AT&T Document Demands in T-Mobile Case
Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) asked a judge to block subpoenas by AT&T Inc. (T) in the government’s antitrust case against AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile USA Inc., saying the rival company’s requests are “overlapping” and “burdensome.”
Efforts to resolve the dispute over AT&T’s document demands have failed, Sprint said in court documents filed today in federal court in Washington. Sprint said AT&T’s insistence on material beyond the 2.2 million pages Sprint gave the U.S. Justice Department for its probe of the proposed $39 billion merger constituted an “impermissible burden.”
“AT&T was unable to state with any specificity what additional information it needs,” Sprint said in the filing. “AT&T nonetheless continues to insist that it is Sprint’s burden to identify responsive materials that may exist at the company that have not already been produced.”
The fight between the two companies over documents stems from AT&T’s right as a defendant to seek evidence from rivals to show that the proposed acquisition isn’t anticompetitive. The battle intensified after Sprint brought its own lawsuit seeking to block the T-Mobile takeover, and sought access to AT&T documents collected by government antitrust investigators. U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle rejected that request last week.
Michael Balmoris, an AT&T spokesman, and John Taylor, a spokesman for Sprint, declined to comment on today’s motion.
‘Refresh’ Earlier Documents
Sprint said in its filing that AT&T has added to previous requests by asking for documents created in the past six months to “refresh” the material already handed over.
AT&T asked Sprint for papers relating to transactions entered into since January 2004, including deals with Nextel Communications Inc., Virgin Mobile and Clearwire Corp., according to an Oct. 19th filing by Sprint.
Huvelle suggested at a hearing Oct. 25 that AT&T should consider withdrawing its subpoena to Sprint, calling the number of documents in the case “overwhelming.”
“I would think that they ought to think twice about how greedy they are being, frankly, if they want to go to trial,” Huvelle said.
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