Supreme Court Divided On Comcast Antitrust Lawsuit

Supreme Court Divided On Comcast Antitrust Lawsuit

The Supreme Court recently rejected a proposed class-action antitrust lawsuit against cable provider, Comcast. This decision overturned an appellate ruling which certified a class of approximately two million existing and former Comcast subscribers.

These subscribers accused the cable company of monopolizing the Philadelphia cable television market by merging and swapping territory with other providers to eliminate area competition and maintain higher prices. The individuals involved in the class provided the court with a general theory for determining overcharges and monetary damages associated with the lack of alternative cable options. However, the court decided, in a 5-to-4 decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia, that the class failed to meet the legal requirements for finding a common method by which to determine monetary damages for each party of the class.

In the decision Judge Scalia stated, “it is clear that, under the proper standard for evaluating certification, respondents’ model falls far short of establishing that damages are capable of measurement on a classwide basis.” Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer who dissented in this matter, accused the majority of focusing on the wrong issues and further claimed that the Supreme Court should not have heard the case in the first place. This divided Supreme Court decision may have repercussions for class-action lawsuits beyond this case.

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