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Final Arrangements -     And, the Lawyers Win

 

As a teenager at family reunions in Prosper, Texas, I would receive advice from several great uncles who had been aviators before WW II  and also manufacturing managers building military aircraft in Fort Worth during the war. At these reunions, they often had a friend, Jack, of Tennessee. Jack encouraged my uncles to add a couple of specialized “improvements” to the original Biblical Ten Commandments – sort of, an aviator’s “Thou shalt not:”

 

Number 11:  "Thou shalt not fly through thunderstorms." Later, with my aviation involvement, I found it's also illegal to knowingly fly into a thunderstorm.

 

Number 12: "Thou shalt not confront the United States government." The silent uncle that didn't say much claimed, "Same thing."

 

Cellular carriers, with their United States government endorsed monopoly license, ultimately would control all marketing of the service and product with their agent/dealer/retailer contracts. Their control over all phases of the cellular market through these contracts was absolute.

 

Certain contract provisions also kept disputes out of the courts by providing for mediation and binding arbitration but with severely limited discovery – usually limited to just two depositions. Of course, total non-disclosure was standard.

 

This method severely limits the evidence submission. The professional arbitrator is required to decide a civil matter with almost no evidence from the plaintiff, which almost always ends in favor of the carrier (defendant). And the carrier is the one who provides lots of cases to the arbitrators.

 

Many of the innovations of that period can be found everywhere in consumer marketing today.

 

Challenge?

One method worked for the plaintiff during that time. First, a disgruntled ex-employee had to be found who can link up with a disgruntled current employee. Then, the current unhappy employee could be deposed, providing damning evidence that indicated criminal activity or fraud on the carrier's part. At that point, the arbitrator would quit the process and throw the case into the courts. As mentioned previously, the defendant would use cash to settle – making it all go away, sealed forever. 

 

After the first two cellular carriers built, operated, expanded, traded, bought, sold and merged, the industry exploded. It reproduced and morphed into another eight or more entities, providing telephone interconnect with handy small radio devices.

 

Along the way some of us involved in the early industry,  looked ahead and suggested that features showing up on  personal computers would one day be added to cell phones. The speed and depth of communications and knowledge made available by utilizing these devices today is amplifying itself - amplifying the speed and depth of communications and knowledge.

 

Seems now business managers, supervisors, movie directors, police,  educators, and parents have to urge, request, require or demand:

 

"Get your head out of your phone".