The U.S. Supreme Court this week is listening to an argument from Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) to limit the power of class action lawsuits, such as the $875 million suit representing about 2 million customers in the Philadelphia area that alleges the cable TV operator clustered properties there to leverage its ability to raise prices.
Comcast's pursuit of a class action lawsuit restriction is based on the Supreme Court's 2011 decision to reject class action certification for a discrimination lawsuit filed against Wal-Mart on behalf of that company's 1.5 million female employees.
The Comcast lawsuit began way back in 2003, when the company was sued with the accusation that it had swapped cable TV systems in the Philadelphia area with other providers to allow it to cluster its systems and make it easier to raise its prices.
Comcast reached a settlement on the class action suit last June, but later refused to follow the settlement as it gathered its arguments for an appeal to the Supreme Court, which the high court quickly agreed to hear. A federal court judge in September agreed that Comcast should not be forced to follow through on what had been a tentative settlement agreement, a ruling which set the stage for this week's visit to the Supreme Court.
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The Supreme Court said in June it would hear Comcast's argument
Comcast also faced anti-trust questions over the Verizon-cable spectrum deal