Verizon, AT&T struck by shareholder lawsuits over lead cables

Verizon was hit with a fresh pair of class action lawsuits from investors, who claim the operator misled the public about the environmental and health risks of lead-clad cables.

The lawsuits were filed this week in a western Pennsylvania federal court by the Gross Law Firm and Levi & Korsinsky, LLP, both of which urged Verizon shareholders to register for the class action. Investors are eligible to apply if they’ve purchased company stock between October 30, 2018 and July 26, 2023.

AT&T is facing similar litigation over the lead cable issue, as the company’s stock in July reached its lowest level in 30 years. Gross Law Firm and Levi & Korsisnsky have also filed class action lawsuits on behalf of AT&T shareholders.

The litigation stems from a Wall Street Journal investigative report published on July 9, which said at least 2,000 old telco cables across the country contain degraded lead. Many of those cables are in places where people live and work.

In regard to Verizon, both law firms claim the carrier allegedly concealed that it faces “potentially significant litigation risk, regulatory risk, and reputational harm” due to its lead cable ownership.

The complaint said Verizon was warned about the risks presented by these cables but “did not disclose that they posed a threat to employee safety, to everyday people, and communities around the country.”

Verizon declined to comment on the litigation.

Affected shareholders have until October 2 to request the court to appoint them as the suit’s lead plaintiff. The two new lawsuits come after Verizon was sued by another group of shareholders earlier this month, as reported by Reuters.


AT&T and Verizon executives have tried to reassure investors lead-sheathed cables pose minimal health risks.

During Q2 earnings, AT&T CEO John Stankey said those cables “still provide important customer voice and data services.” Whereas Verizon’s CFO commented its lead-clad cables only make up “a small percentage” of its copper network.

In addition to shareholder lawsuits, AT&T and Verizon are receiving scrutiny from federal agencies. The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have launched their respective investigations, with the EPA ordering the companies to provide details of their lead cable findings.

The results of the DoJ and EPA’s investigations have yet to be disclosed.