[author: Joshua Roberts]
The Supreme Court has agreed to decide the fate of an antitrust class action lawsuit that was brought by 2 million Comcast customers who were allegedly overcharged to the tune of $875 million.
Previously, a divided Third Circuit held that the lower court met the "rigorous analysis” standard of review that is required for a class action lawsuit to continue. Comcast sought review in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011), arguing that Dukes mandated that district courts resolve merits questions bearing on class certification through “rigorous analysis” even though plaintiffs would have to prove such issues again later at trial. Comcast contends that the Third Circuit failed to “rigorous[ly] analy[ze]” several merits arguments that were directly relevant to class certification and instead determined plaintiffs could prove such claims through evidence at trial.
The fact that the Supreme Court decided to take the case is already a victory for Comcast as the suit was set for trial in September. The Supreme Court will answer the limited question of “[w]hether a district court may certify a class action without resolving whether the plaintiff class has introduced admissible evidence, including expert testimony, to show that the case is susceptible to awarding damages on a class-wide basis.”
Stay tuned for updates on the Comcast litigation through the Carlton Fields Classified Blog (or your local cable provider).