Monthly Bills Will Rise $1 : High Court Allows Phone Access Charges to Stand

Associated Press

A telephone rate system likely to add $1 to the monthly bills of most Americans later this year was left intact Tuesday by the Supreme Court.

The justices, without comment, refused to review a Federal Communications Commission rule approving monthly "interstate end user assessments" for all telephone customers.

In another case, the court left intact a decision that said that corporations may legally deny knowledge of pending mergers before agreement is reached on the price and structure of the transaction.

The court upheld a ruling that Heublein Inc. of Farmington, Conn., did not violate securities laws by denying knowledge of its $1.25-billion acquisition by R. J. Reynolds Industries until the deal was complete.

Bruce H. Greenfield of Huntington Valley, Pa., who owned 400 shares of Heublein stock in 1982, said the company broke the law by neglecting its "duty to speak the whole truth and not mislead."

Greenfield sold his Heublein stock on July 27, 1982, for $45.25 per share, two days before the merger was announced and R. J. Reynolds agreed to buy Heublein at $60 a share.

The court also turned aside without comment three challenges to Union Pacific's 1984 takeover of the Missouri Pacific and simultaneous combination with Western Pacific, the largest transportation merger in the nation's history.

The court refused to hear three distinct challenges to the Interstate Commerce Commission's decision to allow consolidation of the three railroad holding companies.

The combination had been challenged by Kansas City Southern Railway Co., a group of unions representing railroad workers and by Edward K. Wheeler, a stockholder in Western Pacific.

In a pair of cases involving the 1979 nuclear plant accident at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pa., the court refused to force the government to pay $4 billion to the company that owns the plant and cleared the way for a trial in Pennsylvania state courts of a suit by electricity users who say their bills increased because of the accident.

General Public Utilities Corp., owner of the Three Mile Island facility, sought $4 billion in property damage and cleanup costs.

In the second case, the court let stand a ruling that the federal courts lack jurisdiction in the suit filed by homeowners and businesses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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