Language Services Associates Announces Two Major Legal Victories

Language Services Associates (LSA), a global language service provider offering a full suite of translation, localization and interpretation services, today announced that it has won two major legal victories in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania against competitor Language Line Services (LLS).

LSA has prevailed in Language Line Services, Inc. v. Department of General Services, 991 A.2d 383 (Pa.Cmwlth. April 28, 2010) and Giurintano v. Department of General Services, — A.3d —-, 2011 WL 1566741 (Pa.Cmwlth. Apr 25, 2011). The first case challenged LSA’s right to provide services through its use of skilled independent contractors. The second protected LSA’s trade secret information against a competitor who sought to obtain it under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law (RTKL).

The legal battle between LSA and LLS dates back to June 2009, when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of General Services (DGS) awarded LSA a contract for over the phone interpretation services on the basis of LSA’s superior service and value proposition. LLS, the predecessor contractor, protested the award alleging, among other things, that LSA misclassifies its independent contractor interpreters. The Deputy Secretary of DGS denied the LLS protest finding LSA properly classifies its linguists as independent contractors. On appeal, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the decision and held that LSA properly obtained the contract and had a valid business model. After the Commonwealth Court denied the Petition for Review, LLS sought a reargument and an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. On November 17, 2010, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied the appeal, leading to a major victory for LSA and its business model for providing quality and cost effective services to its customers.

In the second major victory, LSA also defeated a request made by LLS’s counsel, Kandice J. Giurintano, to obtain LSA’s confidential and trade secret information under the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law. After LSA obtained a contract with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, LLS sought to twist the RTKL so as to obtain, among other things, the agreements between LSA and all its independent contractors and the names of all independent contractor linguists who have performed services for the Commonwealth.

LLS pursued this request through many levels of review, including DGS’s internal review, an appeal to the Commonwealth’s Office of Open Records (OOR) and again the Commonwealth Court. On April 26, 2011, the Petition was denied by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. The Court held that the identifying information of LSA’s independent contractor linguists was confidential commercial information that would cause substantial harm to LSA’s competitive position if disclosed, and was therefore exempt from release under the RTKL.

“These legal victories demonstrate the attacks launched against LSA by one of its competitors are baseless,” said Laura K.T. Schriver, President and CEO, LSA. “LSA continues to grow its business and win over customers based on the exceptional service it provides. While our competitor tries to gain an advantage through the Courts, we try to do it with superior customer service, competitive pricing and professional linguistic quality.”

LSA’s independent contractor business model has been successful for our customers, contractors, employees and the company for the past 20 years, and we believe the recent decisions made by the Deputy Secretary of DGS, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania further validate this model,” said Art Seefahrt, Chief Operations Officer, LSA. “These legal victories are a significant achievement for LSA as we continue to grow and vigorously protect the ethics and standards of the independent contractor business model for the language services industry as a whole. We believe that linguists with superior credentials and experience make their services available through the independent contractor model. LLS’s baseless attacks on a valid business model are nothing more than an attempt to gain an unfair competitive advantage. Unfortunately, LLS’s campaign also has the effect of besmirching the proud and honorable linguist professionals that choose to run their small businesses as independent contractors.”

About Language Services Associates

Since 1991, Language Services Associates (LSA) has been facilitating foreign language communication and eliminating multicultural communication barriers across a variety of settings and industry segments. Founded by Laura K. T. Schriver, who still holds the title of President and CEO, LSA promises to deliver innovative language-based solutions while consistently providing exceptional customer service support. LSA is proud to offer all encompassing language and cultural services, including Translation and Localization, Interpreting by Telephone (IBT), Face-to-Face Interpreting, Video Remote Interpreting (VRI), American Sign Language (ASL) and Intercultural Consulting.

For more information on LSA, please call 001 (800) 305-9673 or visit us online.

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