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US: Comcast uses SCOTUS ruling to block sports viewers’ lawsuits

 |  August 21, 2013

In efforts to prevent its consumers from launching lawsuits against the company, cable giant Comcast made a court filing last Monday looking to require plaintiffs to file individual arbitration claims. Comcast is in the midst of a legal battle with consumers claiming the firm inflates prices for sports broadcasts; two cases have been consolidated, one regarding the National Hockey League and one regarding Major League Baseball. The cases claim Comcast is colluding with the sports leagues to raise program prices. A New York federal judge denied a motion to dismiss the case last December.

Now, Comcast is said to be using a recent Supreme Court case, American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, decided last June, that ruled courts must enforce arbitration agreements. Comcast says that its own fine-print in contracts signed with consumers that includes a class action waiver as well as a clause requiring consumers to agree to arbitrate any dispute with Comcast, “rather than litigate the Dispute in court.”

Reports say the requirement for consumers to file arbitration claims could be followed by other cable companies should a judge accept Comcast’s recent filing that the Federal Arbitration Act requires enforcement of Comcast’s Arbiration Provision. According to court documents, Comcast said that “Italian Colors erased that doubt” as to whether arbitration agreements were enforceable.

Full Content: Hollywood Reporter

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