Company Sued for Damaging Underground Fiber Optic Facility

Last Friday, plaintiffs Level 3 Communications, LLC, and WilTel Communications, LLC (collectively Level 3) filed a negligence suit against Boretex Communication LLC and one of its managers for damages to Level 3’s underground fiber-optic telecommunications facility in Prairie View, Texas. The complaint accuses Boretex of causing more than $140,000 worth of damage to the plaintiffs’ facility when it was excavating earth and laying fiber-optic cables nearby.

According to the Southern District of Texas filing, the plaintiffs are Delaware telecommunications companies with principal places of business in Broomfield, Colo. They serve enterprise, government, and carrier customers. Level 3’s services are provided through “extensive nationwide fiber networks” that partly consist of underground facilities, including fiber-optic telecommunications cables and conduits. 

On September 6, 2018, Bortex workers were allegedly installing fiber-optic cable near the plaintiffs’ Prairie View underground facility. Though the facility was “visible or properly marked,” Boretex’s mechanized equipment came within 18 inches of plaintiffs’ facility, causing unspecified damage. Boretex, the plaintiffs contend, operated with “complete disregard as to the location and safety of Level 3’s Underground Facility.”

In support of their negligence and gross negligence claims, the plaintiffs argue that Boretex “failed to take the necessary and proper precautions to locate and avoid” Level 3’s facility before and during its installation project. Specifically, the plaintiffs accuse Boretex of shirking provisions of the Texas Underground Facility Prevention and Safety Act, including failure to comply with industry standards, appropriately plan its excavation, determine and confirm the exact location of Level 3’s facility, and adequately train and supervise its employees. For Boretex’s supposed transgressions, the plaintiffs seek actual and punitive damages, among other requests for relief.

The plaintiff is represented by Bell Nunnally & Martin LLP.