Mathias v. WorldCom Technologies, Inc.

RESPONDENT:WorldCom Technologies, Inc.
LOCATION:The Cleveland Metropolitan School District

DOCKET NO.: 00-878
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-2005)

CITATION: 535 US 682 (2002)
ARGUED: Dec 05, 2001
DECIDED: May 20, 2002

Barbara B. McDowell – Argued the cause for the respondent United States
Barbara McDowell – argued the cause for the United States as respondent under this Court’s Rule 12.6 urging affirmance
Joel D. Bertocchi – Argued the cause for the petitioners
Paul M. Smith – Argued the cause for the respondents WorldCom Technologies, Inc., MCI WORLDCOM Network Services, Inc., MCImetro Access Services LLC, and Focal Communi

Facts of the case

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires that incumbent local-exchange carriers (LECs) provide interconnection with their existing networks; that the carriers then establish reciprocal compensation arrangements for transporting and terminating the calls of each others’ customers; and that their interconnection agreements be approved by a state utility commission. The local LEC, Illinois Bell Telephone Company, doing business as Ameritech Illinois, refused to pay reciprocal compensation for calls made by its competitors’ customers to the local access numbers of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Ameritech argued that ISP traffic was not local traffic subject to the reciprocal compensation agreement. The competitors filed complaints and the Illinois Commerce Commission ruled in their favor. In affirming, the District Court concluded that the Commission’s decision did not violate the Act. The Court of Appeals affirmed.


Is a state commission’s action relating to the enforcement of an interconnection agreement under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 reviewable in federal court? Does a state commission waive its Eleventh Amendment immunity by voluntarily participating in the regulatory scheme established by the Act? Does the doctrine of Ex parte Young permit suit for relief against state public utility commissioners in their official capacities for alleged ongoing violations of the Act?

Media for Mathias v. WorldCom Technologies, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – December 05, 2001 in Mathias v. WorldCom Technologies, Inc.

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – May 20, 2002 in Mathias v. WorldCom Technologies, Inc.

William H. Rehnquist:

The second case which I have to announce is No. 00-878, Mathias versus WorldCom Technologies, Inc.

In this case we granted certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to consider three questions.

We later granted certiorari to the Fourth Circuit in Verizon Maryland versus Public Service Commission of Maryland and United States versus Public Service Commission of Maryland to review the same questions arising in the same factual contest.

Our decision in those cases has just been announced by Justice Scalia.

We therefore dismiss the writ in this case as improvidently granted.

Justice O’Connor took no part in the consideration of decision of this case.