Comcast Agrees to $50M Settlement in Narrowed Philadelphia Antitrust Class

The Telecommunications Law Resource Center is the most comprehensive reference and news platform for communications law, covering broadcasting, cable, broadband, telephony and wireless;...

By Perry Cooper

Oct. 29 — Comcast Corp. has agreed to pay $50 million to resolve allegations by a class of cable subscribers in the Philadelphia area that it engaged in anticompetitive conduct, according to a preliminary settlement filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the class certification decision and held that the proposed Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b)(3) class couldn't satisfy the predominance requirement. The majority said the plaintiffs' damages model didn't measure only those damages attributable to their sole-surviving antitrust impact theory, Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 133 S. Ct. 1426, 2013 BL 80435 (2013).

The plaintiff, Stanford Glaberson, moved to certify a narrowed class. The district court found that the Supreme Court decision didn't rule out recertification of a narrower class.

Glaberson moved for preliminary approval of the settlement Oct. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Under the terms of the settlement, Comcast will provide a settlement fund of $16.7 million and services valued at $33.3 million in exchange for the release of the plaintiff's claims.

Current subscribers of video programming services will be entitled to a one-time credit of $15 or one of a list of Comcast services. Class members who are former subscribers are entitled to $15 cash.

Comcast filed a response Oct. 28 explaining that it doesn't oppose the plaintiff's motion, but “does not necessarily agree with or adopt Plaintiff's characterizations of fact and law.”

Comcast expressly reserves all rights to dispute the plaintiff's characterizations if the settlement isn't approved or in other actions against the company, the response said.

The plaintiffs are represented by Heins Mills & Olson PLC; Susman Godfrey LLP; and Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward P.A.

Comcast is represented by Ballard Spahr LLP; Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP; and Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bna.com

The plaintiff's motion preliminary approval of a class action settlement is at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/GLABERSON_et_al_v_COMCAST_CORPORATION_Docket_No_203cv06604_ED_Pa_/2. Comcast's response is at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/GLABERSON_et_al_v_COMCAST_CORPORATION_Docket_No_203cv06604_ED_Pa_/3.