A New York state appeals court has ruled that the State Attorney General’s suit against Charter Communications for allegedly deceptive broadband speed claims can proceed.
In February 2017, the New York Attorney General’s Office filed suit against Charter, alleging that the Time Warner Cable unit it acquired in 2016 had begun advertising internet speed performance it knew it couldn’t deliver as far back as 2012.
Last November, weeks before the Republican-led FCC voted to roll back the 2015 Open Internet Order, Charter argued to the Manhattan court overseeing the suit that the new, upcoming FCC internet rules prohibited the Attorney General’s legal action.
“Of particular relevance here, the [FCC’s] Draft Order includes an extensive discussion of the interplay between federal and state law, including with respect to the transparency rule on which Charter has relied in arguing that federal law preempts the Attorney General’s allegations that Time Warner Cable made deceptive claims about its broadband speeds,” Charter argued in a legal brief.
However, that appeals court ruled that the lower court “correctly declined to dismiss claims based on allegations about network quality and reliability on the grounds that some of the language in the advertisements is mere puffery, because other statements in the advertisements are not mere puffery and are actionable.”
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood lauded the decision: “We look forward to moving our case forward and holding Charter and its predecessor Time Warner Cable accountable for promising New York consumers internet speeds they could not deliver,” she said in a statement.
Charter responded, “We will continue to defend vigorously against these allegations. We have no further comment at this time.”