Expert to resolve discovery disputes in AT&T case

WASHINGTON Thu Oct 6, 2011 12:12pm EDT

AT & T and T-Mobile logos are seen posted on the wall of a subway station at West 14th street and 8th avenue in New York September 27, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

AT & T and T-Mobile logos are seen posted on the wall of a subway station at West 14th street and 8th avenue in New York September 27, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A prominent dispute resolution expert has been picked to sort out any problems over evidence in the Obama administration's antitrust lawsuit to block AT&T Inc's purchase of wireless rival T-Mobile USA.

Richard Levie, a former District of Columbia Superior Court judge and a long-time mediator and arbitrator, was jointly picked to serve as the so-called special master by the Justice Department and the companies, according to a court filing made on Thursday.

He will resolve any disputes related to turning over information between the parties, including claims of privilege, motions to compel and expert information, according to the filing.

On August 31, the Obama administration's Justice Department sued to block AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile, which is owned by Deutsche Telekom AG, over concerns that it would squelch competition and innovation as well as lead to higher prices.

AT&T and T-Mobile have sought to address the government's concerns and negotiate a settlement in which the deal could be completed.

(Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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