Comcast settles 11-year-old, $875M class-action suit for $16.7M and some free VOD movies

After 11 years of failed settlement attempts and legal arguments that reached U.S. Supreme Court, a class-action group of Philadelphia-area cable subscribers will get only a small fraction of the $875 million they had originally sought from Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

The Philly conglomerate settled the decade-old class-action suit, agreeing to pay $16.67 million in cash to its current and former customers involved in the complaint. The company will also deliver service credits valued at $33.33 million--trinkets like free Internet service-tier upgrades and free VOD movies.

According to Reuters, settlement papers were filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of Philadelphia. As part of the settlement agreement, Comcast has not admitted to any wrongdoing in the matter.

The plaintiffs filed suit in 2003, accusing Comcast of swapping cable systems in the Philadelphia area with smaller MSOs so it could cluster its systems and raise prices.

The case appeared headed for settlement in 2011, but Comcast elected to have the matter heard by the High Court. In writing the decision on the 5-4 ruling in favor of Comcast, Justice Antonin Scalia said the plaintiffs failed to show they were sufficiently harmed, or that damages could be proved class-wide.

In April, the complaint was amended a fourth time with a smaller class of plaintiffs who chose to carry on with the matter.

For more:
- read this Reuters story
- read this Consumerist story
- read this Ars Technica story

Related links:
Supreme Court hears Comcast argument to limit class action suit
The Supreme Court said in June it would hear Comcast's argument
Cablevision, Time Warner Cable face class-action lawsuits