Comcast Class-Action Suit Will Be Heard by Supreme Court

Comcast Class-Action Suit Will Be Heard by Supreme Court

A federal court judge's decision to side with Comcast sets the stage for the class-action matter to be heard by the Supreme Court

A federal court judge’s decision to side with Comcast and not enforce a tentative settlement in a class-action lawsuit will set the stage for arguments before the Supreme Court.

In a September 25 order, U.S. District Court Judge John R. Padova in Philadelphia sided with Comcast on the issue, ruling that the tentative agreement “was incomplete in significant respects and cannot be summarily enforced.”

The terms of the tentative settlement were not made public.

As a result of Padova’s ruling, the Supreme Court — which had agreed during the summer to rule on whether the class-action lawsuit is legal — will hear the case on November 5. A federal court judge’s decision to side with Comcast and not enforce a tentative settlement in a class-action lawsuit will set the stage for arguments before the Supreme Court.

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The long-pending Behrend v. Comcast case, originally filed in 2003, alleges that Comcast’s “clustering” of systems through swaps with other cable operators had given the media giant too much power to increase cable rates and exclude competitors in the Philadelphia area.

Comcast appealed to the high court the lower-court rulings affirming the class-action status of the lawsuit. But Comcast agreed to a tentative settlement in the case on June 12, before the high court decided whether to accept Comcast’s appeal. After the Supreme Court granted Comcast’s appeal on June 25, Comcast backed away from the settlement, contending that the tentative agreement shouldn’t be enforced.

A spokeswoman for Comcast declined to comment.