One small step for a pleading, one giant leap for Twombly –

Atlas Trading sued AT&T based on the “filed rate doctrine,” which prohibits a common carrier from charging rates other than those on file with the FCC. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of that claim on the pleadings; after a thorough discussion of  the requirements of Twombly and Iqbal, the Court observed:

Atlas has neither pled nor shown, though, how these charges are inconsistent with the tariffed rates. That the terms are not found  in the tariffs is insufficient. For example, it could allege what it should have been charged under the tariffed rate or compared that to what it was actually charged. It simply asserts that charges such as the composite access-rate charge are not found in the tariffs and from that asks the court to let its claims go forward.


Even accepting as true Atlas’s allegation that the labels for the charges are not found in the tariffs, we cannot make a reasonable inference that the defendants have violated the filed-rate doctrine. At most, we can only infer that certain labels for charges are not found in the tariffs filed with the FCC. Such an inference is not the equivalent of a plausible allegation that the defendants have charged Atlas different rates from those on file with the FCC.

Atlas Trading v. AT&T, No. 16-11661 (Oct. 18, 2017) (emphasis added).

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