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Cablevision Settles Class Action – Subscribers Entitled to Benefits
Cablevision, one of Long Island’s largest providers of cable television service, has reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit in which the plaintiffs claimed that certain business practices of the cable service provider resulted in subscribers paying higher prices for Cablevision’s cable TV set-top boxes.
Subject to certain exceptions, the Settlement Class includes all persons in New Jersey, Connecticut and New York who subscribed to Cablevision’s video services and paid a monthly fee to Cablevision to lease a Set-Top Box at any time from April 30, 2004 to March 9, 2016.
The Settlement offers credits for services (ranging between $50-$140 in value) or a one-time bill credit (ranging between $20-$40) to Cablevision’s Current Subscribers. Former Subscribers can get a one-time cash payment (ranging between $20-$40) and other benefits. The final settlement is still subject to approval by a Judge Madeline C. Arleo of the United States District Court in Newark, New Jersey in the case of Marchese v Cablevision Systems Corp. Although a settlement fairness hearing is not scheduled to take place until September 12, 2016, consumers can start filing their claims now using a special website at www.cableboxsettlement.com. The deadline for filing a claim is September 23, 2016.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit claimed that Cablevision violated federal and state laws by requiring its cable TV subscribers to rent a set-top box from Cablevision in order to receive certain video services. Plaintiffs claimed that these practices resulted in subscribers paying higher prices for Cablevision’s cable TV set-top boxes. Cablevision denied the claims and allegations in this lawsuit. The settlement does not mean that any law was broken or that Cablevision did anything wrong, but both sides in the case believe that this settlement is in everyone’s best interest. Individual subscribers who believe that their interests are not best-served by the settlement do have the right to opt out and pursue their individual claims, but there are strict deadlines to do this, and generally, the amount at stake on an individual basis often does not usually make such litigation worthwhile.
Plaintiffs in the litigation have been represented by Taus, Cebulash & Landau, LLP of New York City. Cablevision has been represented by Ropes & Gray, LLP of Washington, D.C.