United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
KEVIN T. NORRIS, Plaintiff,
GLOBAL TEL LINK CORP., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Sorokin, United States District Judge.
24, 2016, Plaintiff Kevin Norris, proceeding pro se, sued
Global Tel*Link Corporation (“GTL”),
well as other since dismissed defendants, over various
complaints Norris has with the telephone service provided to
him by GTL while he was incarcerated in one of
Massachusetts' correctional facilities. See Doc. No. 1;
Doc. No. 44-1 at 1. On September 1, 2016, the Court dismissed
all counts of the Complaint except Count III, which alleges
violations of the Federal Communication Act
(“FCA”) against GTL. Doc. No. 37. With respect to
Count III, the Court ruled that “Norris's claims
regarding intrastate rates and issues with GTL's service
may proceed” but stayed the claim “pending the
[Federal Communications Commission's (“FCC”)
consideration of [it.]” Doc. No. 37 at 6-8.
October 4, 2016, Norris sought that the Court's order of
stay be lifted. Doc. No. 44. The Court denied the motion,
finding Norris had failed to exhaust the FCC's remedies.
Doc. No. 53. On February 27, 2017, Norris again sought that
the stay be lifted, Doc. No. 56, and the Court again denied
Norris's motion, Doc. No. 60.
Norris once again seeks that the stay be lifted, averring
that he has exhausted the FCC's remedies. Doc. No. 65.
FCC REMEDY EXHAUSTION
provides a two-step remedy process for consumers such as
Norris. Doc. No. 69 at 4. The first step is an
“informal complaint, ” which may be filed online,
by phone, or through the mail. See Federal
Communications Commission, Filing an Informal
(last visited Mar. 9, 2018). An informal complaint should
include: the name, address, and contact information of the
complainant, and as much detail about the complaint as
possible. Id. Once received, the FCC “will
forward [the informal complaint] to the appropriate carrier
for investigation.” 47 C.F.R. § 1.717. Then,
“[t]he carrier will . . . advise the [FCC] in writing,
with a copy to the complainant, of its satisfaction of the
complaint or of its refusal or inability to do so.”
Id. The FCC may then “in its discretion,
consider a complaint proceeding to be closed, ” and
take no further action. 47 C.F.R. § 1.717. In all other
cases, the FCC will “contact the complainant regarding
its review and disposition of the matters raised [in the
informal complaint.]” Id. “When an
informal complaint has not been satisfied” at the end
of this process, the consumer may then proceed to the second
step of the FCC two-step remedy process by “fil[ing] a
formal complaint with [the FCC.]” 47 C.F.R. §
1.718. A formal complaint proceeding is similar to a court
proceeding. “Each party must comply with specific
procedural rules, appear before the FCC and file documents
that address legal issues.” Federal Communications
Commission, Filing a Complaint: Questions and
(last visited Mar. 11, 2018).
September 1, 2016, the Court stayed Norris's FCA claim,
instructing Norris to exhaust the remedies provided by the
FCC before proceeding with his claim in this Court. Doc. No.
37. Norris asserts that he has now done so. Doc. No. 65 at 1.
In support of his assertion, Norris has provided the Court
with the following documents:
1. A letter dated October 17, 2016 addressed to the Consumer
Division of the FCC expressing an intent to file a complaint
against GTL and inquiring about the procedure, Doc. No. 65-1
2. A letter dated December 12, 2016 addressed to the Chairman
of the FCC expressing an intent to file a complaint against
GTL and describing the substance of that complaint,
id. at 6;
3. A letter dated January 26, 2017 addressed to the District
Office of the FCC in Quincy expressing an intent to file a
complaint with the FCC, id. at 7;
4. A letter dated January 26, 2017 addressed to the General
Counsel of the FCC describing the Chairman's failure to
respond to the December 12, 2016 letter and his desire for a
response, id. at 8.
5. Norris's sworn statement that, on May 2, 2017, Norris
“placed inside the prison mailbox, a complaint against
[GTL] and [he] forwarded [sic] to the [FCC], ”
but has “not received a response to [his] complaint,
” Doc. No. 65-2;
6. A mailing dated May 2, 2017 and captioned “Re:
Complaint Global Tel Link Corporations/holdings, ”
“filing a complaint against [GTL], ” Doc. No.
65-1 at 1-2. The mailing is addressed to Federal
Communications Commission, Complaints and ...