$15.5 Million Settlement in Comcast Set-Top Box Class Action Granted Final Approval
On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, A federal judge in Pennsylvania issued final approval of a $15.5 million settlement to resolve a 2007 class action lawsuit against Comcast Corp.
U.S. District Court Judge Anita B. Brody of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania approved the settlement, which was agreed upon by both parties to resolve allegations that Comcast forced consumers to rent a set-top box in order to access their cable subscriptions. According to plaintiffs, the rental of Comcast set-top boxes was an additional mandatory expense for subscribers of the company’s premium cable offerings, which include high-definition channels and premium add-ons such as HBO and Cinemax. According to the complaint, tying the additional cost of the set-top box to the premium cable package was anti-competitive and led consumers to pay supracompetitive prices.
The settlement compensates current and former Comcast customers from Washington, California, and West Virginia. The settlement agreement earmarks monetary compensation and free movie rentals up to $59.99 in value depending on the length of a class members’ cable subscription.
“Ideally, many more Class Members would have submitted claims,” states Judge Brody in her order. “It is likely, however, that if no Settlement Agreement had been reached, even fewer potential Class Members would have received any benefit from this litigation due to several significant hurdles in this case. Despite [those hurdles], Class Counsel continued to prioritize obtaining a direct benefit for potential Class Members and ultimately achieved a Settlement with the potential to directly benefit an estimated 3.5 million consumers.”
Plaintiffs in the case (In re: Comcast Corp. Set-Top Cable Television Box Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 2:09-md-02034 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania) were represented by Kenneth A. Wexler of Wexler Wallace LLP, Dianne Nast of NastLaw LLC, and Stephen Corr of Stark & Stark.