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Federal Court Dismisses Ntegrity's Antitrust Claim Against Verizon

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TRENTON, N. J. -- The U.S. District Court here last night dismissed an antitrust case filed against Verizon by Ntegrity, a reseller of Verizon local telephone service in New Jersey and other states.

Ntegrity brought the antitrust case after Verizon sued to collect past-due bills totaling $4 million owed to Verizon by Ntegrity. The court also denied Ntegrity's motion to dismiss the Verizon suit for payment of past-due bills.

"Like all competitors who buy service from us, Ntegrity must pay for that service. The court's decision once again proves there is no free lunch," said John Thorne, senior vice president and deputy general counsel for Verizon.

Ntegrity's lawyers admitted during hearings in the New Jersey court that AT&T, a principal Verizon competitor, was paying Ntegrity so that its lawyers could pursue the antitrust case.

In the decision, U.S. District Court Judge Garrett E. Brown, Jr. said: "The antitrust laws were designed to promote free competition and enhance consumer access to services, not to be an end-run around legislation imposing very specific duties. Therefore, Ntegrity's antitrust claims will be dismissed. "

Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, local telephone service may be purchased at a discount from existing phone companies and resold to consumers by companies like Ntegrity.

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