Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two opinions that will interest business trial lawyers.
In Global Crossing Telecommunications, Inc. v. Metrophones Telecommunications, Inc., No. 05-705 (U.S. Apr. 17, 2007), the Court upheld a Federal Communications Commission regulation that requires long-distance service providers to compensate payphone operators for processing customers’ "dial-around" calls. (A dial-around call allows a customer to make a long-distance connection by entering a 1-800 number or other free access code.) The Court concluded that sections 201(b) and 207 of the federal Communications Act authorized the FCC to enact the regulation and the payphone operators to sue in federal court for recovery of dial-around compensation.
In Watters v. Wachovia Bank, N.A., No. 05-1342 (U.S. Apr. 17, 2007), the Court addressed the authority of states to regulate national bank subsidiaries that engage in real estate mortgage lending activities. The Court held that the National Bank Act and regulations under the Act preempt state law to the extent that they conflict. States may regulate corporate formation, dissolution, and internal governance of subsidiaries but may not subject the subsidiaries to audits and surveillance under rival oversight regimes.