U.S. News

Supreme Court Rejects Class Action Suit Against Comcast

Reuters with AP
Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in favor of Comcast in an antitrust case over how much it charged cable TV subscribers, a decision that limits the ability of people to pursue class action lawsuits.

In a 5-4 decision, the court said cable TV subscribers in the Philadelphia area who accused Comcast of overcharging them as part of an effort to monopolize the market was certified improperly, and therefore could not sue as a group.

"The permutations involving four theories of liability and 2 million subscribers located in 16 counties are nearly endless," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority.

Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the dissent jointly for themselves, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The case raised the issue of what kind of evidence must be presented in early stages of a lawsuit before a judge can allow a class action to go forward.

Wednesday's decision came in one of several class action cases the court is addressing this term.

They follow a landmark 2011 decision in Wal-Mart Stores Inc v. Dukes where the court threw out a giant employment discrimination lawsuit because the female plaintiffs did not have enough in common to sue together.

The case is Comcast Corp et al v. Behrend et al, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 11-864.

Comcast is the parent company of CNBC.