The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of Hangley Aronchick client Windstream Communications in a case involving the collection and remittance of taxes under Pennsylvania’s 911 Act. In early 2016, Butler County filed a complaint against a Windstream subsidiary and several other telecommunications service providers, alleging that the providers engaged in actionable misconduct by failing to charge, collect and remit taxes under the Act. On April 26, 2019, the Supreme Court rejected Butler County’s claims and unanimously held that the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Authority (PEMA) has exclusive authority to enforce the 911 Act. The Court’s opinion reversed an earlier decision of the Commonwealth Court and reinstated the preliminary objections granted by the trial court.
The decision will have a direct and significant impact on the telecommunications industry. More than 15 counties throughout the Commonwealth have filed lawsuits against dozens of telecommunications service providers asserting the same causes of action under common law, and those claims must now be dismissed as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision.
Our team was led by Jason Levine, with co-counsel from Norton Rose Fulbright as well as other law firms representing co-defendant service providers.
To read the Supreme Court’s opinion, please click here.