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Lawsuit filed regarding collection of 911 fees

Court action claims money not paid, records not shown.
The Dothan-Houston County Communications District and Dale County E-911 (District) Board have filed suit against two telephone providers claiming money owed the Districts by them has not been paid.

It claims the companies failed to collect, report, and remit 911 charges as mandated under Alabama law. The court action was filed Tuesday in Houston County Circuit Court against Century Link of Alabama and Qwest Communications. The companies merged in 2011.

“In doing so they have deprived the Districts of revenue needed to provide critical, life saving emergency services,” the legal action claims. The Districts claim CenturyLink and Quest have done so to offer customers lower rates and keep them more competitive.

Fees to fund 911 services are normally added to monthly telephone service invoices to fund the Districts that provide communications for emergency and other first responder dispatch services.

The lawsuit claims the Districts have tried to audit the CenturyLink and Qwest records but the companies have refused to provide sufficient data.

It claims, because of the refusal of the companies to cooperate, the districts have determined the telephone service providers are operating in violation of laws and agreements.

“The defendants wanton behavior proximately caused injury and damages to the Districts, including the loss of capital and operating funds and an impairment of the ability to provide 911 services,” the lawsuit alleges. It requests a jury trial.

The lawsuit was filed by Dothan attorney Cliff Mendheim and Birmingham attorney W. Percy Badham III.

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