Call us crazy, but we agree with Safelink on this one: If you don’t follow the rules, you get terminated. We’re actually surprised the court is cutting this guy this much slack.
Here’s what the lawsuit is all about according to the St. Louis Record:
A lawsuit that claims a Missouri man’s rights were violated after his cellular service was terminated “without proper notice” can proceed after the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri recently denied a motion by SafeLink Wireless, a TracFone brand, to discuss the case.
In his July 30 ruling, U.S. District Judge Douglas Harpool denied the motion to dismiss the suit filed by plaintiff Rickey Jerome Daugherty that claims his due process was violated when SafeLink discontinued his cellular service that was a part of a government-regulated program.
As a participant in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulated “Lifeline Assistance Program,” low-income residents can receive cellular service at no cost to them. In the complaint, Daugherty, who participated in the “Lifeline” program, argued that his service had been off “without proper notice” and that he “has been denied an appeal process.”
Here’s the catch: Safelink has told Daugherty that everything will be hunkydory and he can get his service back if he just recertifies — like everyone else has to do every year. To repeat, all he needs to do is fill in the blanks and complete the Lifedlink application the company sent him.
To repeat, all he needs to do is what every other Lifeline customer does every year.
According to the St Louis Record, Daugherty refuses to follow the same federal regulations that govern every other free government cell phone company and every other free government cell phone customer.
“Plaintiff acknowledges he has received the application,” Harpool said. “Plaintiff has no federally protected right to bypass regulations pertaining to eligibility for participation in the service.”
Daugherty contends that he is entitled to this assistance and that SafeLink’s decision to suspend his service was done under color of state and federal law, in which SafeLink maintains that “the sale of mobile services does not constitute state conduct.”
“The court finds that he (Daugherty) has plead enough to survive defendants’ motion to dismiss,” Harpool said. “Whether plaintiff can actually establish that defendants are state actors, or whether he has been deprived of a constitutionally protected federal right, are matters of proof that extend beyond this motion to dismiss.”
As we said a couple paragraphs above, the Lifeline free government cell phone companies operate under a federal charter that requires them to re-certify every customer every year in order to control the waste, fraud and abuse that eat away at the core of the program. Daugherty wants to sidestep those reasonable and logical regulations.
Even the judge seems to be looking askance at Daugherty’s phony baloney claims:
Harpool went on to suggest that even though the trial will move forward, if SafeLink’s claim that a completed application is needed to demonstrate eligibility for the program and Daugherty has failed to complete that application, he “will not prevail in this litigation.”
Ahhhhh, the American justice system at its finest.