Comcast antitrust case heading to U.S. Supreme Court

Posted: September 30, 2012

Comcast Corp. will have its day in the U.S. Supreme Court.

A federal judge in Philadelphia has declined to enforce a tentative settlement negotiated between plaintiffs' attorneys suing Comcast for antitrust violations and Comcast's lawyers.

The decision by Judge John R. Padova means that the case, Behrend v. Comcast, will be heard by the Supreme Court justices in Washington on Nov. 5.

The nation's highest court has taken an interest in the Comcast case because of legal issues related to certifying more than one million Comcast subscribers as a damaged class in the class-action lawsuit.

It's the latest development in the long-running antitrust suit, filed in 2003, that claims Comcast benefitted by being able to control and raise cable prices after it clustered cable systems in the Philadelphia area through a series of swaps with other cable companies in the late 1990s.

Comcast agreed to a tentative settlement of the case on June 12 with the help of a mediator. Then, on June 25, the Supreme Court granted Comcast's request that it hear the case.

Financial terms of the tentative settlement are under seal in Padova's court.

Plaintiffs attorneys asked Padova to enforce the June 12 settlement, but Comcast said it wasn't final and shouldn't be enforced.

Padova wrote in a Sept. 25 opinion that it was "objectively clear from the words of the term sheet . . . that the parties intended to execute a more formal contract in the future." Because of that, he could not enforce it and the Supreme Court should hear it.


Contact Bob Fernandez at 215-854-5897, bob.fernandez@phillynews.com or @bobfernandez1 on Twitter.

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