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Supreme Court to Hear Comcast Antitrust Case

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on June 26, 2012 10:01 AM

The Supreme Court had a busy Monday. Yesterday, in addition to issuing several important opinions (check out our Supreme Court Blog for updates on that), the High Court agreed to review a Third Circuit Court of Appeals case over cable TV monopolization, according to Reuters.

The cable company behind the lawsuit is Comcast, which has been accused of executing strategies, (including the swapping territories with a competitor) to be the sole cable provider in certain areas in and around Philadelphia. The cable giant denies the charges.

The initial lawsuit arose in 2003 over alleged overcharging by Comcast. Several Comcast customers in the Philadelphia area wanted to file a class action lawsuit, claiming that Comcast was violating antitrust laws and that it was attempting to monopolize the cable TV market.

The question that came before the Supreme Court was whether a trial judge had the ability to certify a class-action before determining whether there plaintiffs had introduced sufficient evidence to justify class-wide damages.

The Comcast case was decided by the Third Circuit in August of last year. At that time, the appellate court decided that a trial judge had discretion over whether plaintiffs would be able to prove a class-wide antitrust impact and a common methodology to quantify damages on a class-wide basis. (See Behrend v. Comcast.)

The Supreme Court has agreed to examine that question. There is no word on the exact timing of Supreme Court review on the matter.

Comcast's main argument against the class action was commonality-- essentially that the proposed class of plaintiffs didn't have enough in common to bring the lawsuit.

There are an estimated two million class members in the $875 million lawsuit, reports Bloomberg News.

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