Philadelphia customers sued Comcast Corporation arguing Comcast’s complete control over cable service in parts of Philadelphia allowed Comcast to raise prices unfairly. The customers had several different theories as to how they were harmed by Comcast’s monopoly of the cable service business. The United States Supreme Court held the customers were not a proper class because they could not show that the customers all suffered damages for the same reason. Although this suit was not about employees and their employers, the Supreme Court’s decision could have a broad effect on the ability of other groups including employees who are attempting to create a class for a class action on employment issues. Employees who attempt to band together for a discrimination action or wage and hour suit will have to be cognizant of the one damage theory needed to tie the claims of a proposed class together. Large class actions can sometimes blur the distinctions between different members of a class. However, the Supreme Court continues to refine those distinctions as it did in the Dukes nationwide class action on sexual discrimination against Walmart.
Carol Keough April 5, 2013