High Court Dismisses CenturyLink's Qwest Paraplegic Suit

By Josh Long Comments
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Qwest, the regional phone company acquired last year by CenturyLink Inc., may have settled a lawsuit in which a jury awarded millions of dollars in damages to a man who suffered severe injuries several years ago in Colorado while working on a wood utility pole.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 12 dismissed an appeal by Qwest, granting a petition to dismiss its request for review of the case, known as a so-called writ of certiorari.

The appeal challenged an $18 million punitive damage award, according to Bloomberg.

The accident left Andrew Blood a paraplegic from the waist down. A jury found that Qwest was 100 percent at fault and awarded millions of dollars in damages against the Denver-based phone company now owned by CenturyLink, including nearly $10 million in economic losses, according to the Colorado Supreme Court in a 2011 opinion.

In other news involving Qwest, its former disgraced CEO Joseph Nacchio has sued the federal government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, seeking a refund of nearly $18 million in taxes he paid on gains from illegal stock sales, Bloomberg reported last week. Nacchio is currently serving prison time after being convicted in 2007 of 19 counts of insider trading covering $52 million of stock sales.

On April 1, 2011, CenturyLink announced completing its acquisition of Qwest Communications in a merger that it said created the third-largest telecommunications provider in the U.S. with operations in 37 states.

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