Verizon Ups Ante in Fight Against Minority Contractor it allegedly Put Out of Business says Mendy & Beekman, PLLC

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Philadelphia law firm Mendy & Beekman, PLLC says that communications giant Verizon seeks to recover $18,000.00 in discovery costs in its legal fight with a minority trucking contractor Verizon allegedly put out of business, Underdog Trucking, LLC, and its owner, Reggie Anders.

We were wronged and we decided to do something about it even though they have all the power. We understand that we are the underdogs and that it will not be easy brawling with a giant like Verizon. At the end of the day, all I want is my day in court.

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Communications giant Verizon escalates its fight with minority trucking contractor, Underdog Trucking, LLC, and its owner, Reggie Anders by seeking $18,000.00 from a company Verizon allegedly has put out of business.

Underdog Trucking and Anders had sued Verizon Communications, Inc., Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless, Verizon Services Corporation, Matt Chappell, Oscar Aponte, and various unidentified defendants, in an action entitled Underdog Trucking, et. al. v. Verizon Wireless Services, Inc, et. al. Civil Case No. 09-cv-8918 (and related case SDNY No. 10-cv-09189), for claims including Breach of Contract and Discrimination. During discovery, Verizon requested various documents from the Plaintiffs. Plaintiffs provided all the documents in their possession including their tax returns. However, Plaintiffs did not provide all of the information requested and missed a couple of the pages of their tax returns. As a result, Verizon moved to compel production of the missing documents and also sought sanctions. Verizon’s motion to compel was granted as the court found that Verizon was entitled to the information and Plaintiffs should have provided a complete copy of the tax returns. Verizon now seeks over $18,000.00 in attorneys’ fees and costs for having to file a Motion to Compel before it could get some of the documents it had requested. $18,000.00 from a company that is now insolvent because of Verizon's alleged actions.

Underdog owner has no illusions about what he faces. Says Reggie Anders, "We were wronged and we decided to do something about it even though they have all the power. We understand that we are the underdogs and that it will be a very tough road brawling with a giant corporation like Verizon. There size and power, however, make no difference to us. That is why my company is called Underdog Trucking. Every dog has its day. At the end of the day, all I want is to have my day in court and story heard, win, lose or draw."

According to the Petition For Damages filed by Plaintiffs, the dispute between Plaintiffs and Verizon arises from an alleged breach of contract by Verizon as well as the alleged discriminatory actions taken by Verizon and Verizon employees, whether or not such action were sanctioned by the entity defendant. Underdog Trucking, LLC, a small Louisiana trucking company headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, started providing trucking services for Verizon Wireless in 2006. The agreement that forms the basis of this lawsuit, however, is a trucking services contract entered between Underdog and the Verizon subsidiary known as Verizon Services Corporation for the benefit of itself and its affiliates (including all Verizon entities). The service agreement was pursuant to a Verizon policy in effect when the Agreement was executed, in order to maximize efficiency and centralize the procurement of services, for the vast majority of, if not the whole, Verizon enterprise. Though Verizon Services Corporation signed the contract, Underdog’s services, however, were provided only to Cellco Partnership d/b/a as Verizon Wireless, the wireless company co-owned by Verizon (55%) and Vodafone (45%).

In its lawsuit, Underdog alleges that it contracted for Verizon for three years with nothing but accolades for its work, performed under its contract as agreed and never breached the contract. However, in 2009, months before the expiration of the contract, Verizon not only allegedly breached the contract but also allegedly discriminated against Underdog by replacing it without cause with a Caucasian contractor and using an allegedly sham bidding process as a pretext. Underdog allegedly was forced out of business as it not only lost the Verizon business but also lost its ability to operate as a trucking company. The debt on the trucks, trailers and other equipment Underdog bought specifically to service the Verizon contract was tied up with its other operating assets.

Plaintiff Underdog Trucking is a small African American owned trucking and transportation services. It has its genesis in New Orleans, LA and was organized in Louisiana but currently is headquartered in Phoenix, AZ and operated most of its business in California and the West Coast. The company has gone from a thriving business to a one-truck operation as a result of Verizon’s actions.

Defendant Verizon Communications, Inc. was founded in 1983, Verizon Communications Inc., Verizon Communications, Inc. is a global broadband and telecommunications company and is publicly traded. It started in 1983 as Bell Atlantic (based in Philadelphia) with a footprint covering New Jersey to Virginia and NYNEX (based in New York City) with a footprint spanning from New York to Maine that emerged as part of the 1984 AT&T break-up into seven "Baby Bells." Prior to its transformation into Verizon, a result of the Bell Atlantic–GTE merger in 2000, Bell Atlantic merged with Regional Bell Operating Company, NYNEX, in 1997. Bell Atlantic merged with GTE on June 30, 2000 and changed its name to Verizon Communications Inc. This merger was among the largest mergers in United States business history. The name Verizon is a portmanteau of veritas and horizon, and its pronunciation rhymes with horizon. The company's headquarters are located in the Verizon Building at 140 West Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City.

Defendant Cellco Partnership d/b/a “Verizon Wireless” is the largest mobile telecommunications network and wireless phone provider in the United States. The network has 93.2 million subscribers as of Q3 2010, ahead of the second largest carrier, AT&T Mobility, which had 92.8 million subscribers as of Q3 2010. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of U.S. telecommunications firm Verizon Communications and British multinational mobile network operator Vodafone, with 55 and 45 percent ownership respectively.

Defendant Verizon Wireless Services, Inc. is a subsidiary set up by Verizon for the primary purpose of entering into contracts. Typically, the company would enter into contracts on behalf of “itself and for the benefit of its affiliates” (all Verizon entities) pursuant to Verizon policy in order to maximize efficiency and centralize the procurement of services for the whole Verizon enterprise.

The Verizon defendants is represented by high-profile New York, NY Lawyer Raymond McGuire and his firm Kauff, McGuire and Margolis LLP while Plaintiffs Underdog Trucking and Anders are represented by Edward B. Mendy and Eduard Diaz of Mendy & Beekman, PLLC, a boutique business and tax firm out of Philadelphia, PA.

The case in question had to be filed in the Southern District of New York as Verizon required that all disputes related to the contract be filed in the Southern District of New York. The case is winding its way through the court system.

The contract Underdog sues under was executed by Verizon Wireless Services even though the intended and actual service beneficiary was Cellco Partnership d/b/a as Verizon Wireless.

Media Contacts:
Edward B. Mendy, Esq.
Mendy & Beekman, PLLC
One Liberty Center
Suite 3600
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(267) 675-7100

Media Contacts:
Sporty Smith
Mendy & Beekman, PLLC
One Liberty Center
Suite 3600
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(267) 675-7100

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Edward B. Mendy
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