Today, the court in Behrend v. Comcast Corp., No. 03-6604 (E.D. Pa.), held that Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955 (2007) (post), didn’t alter its conclusion that the cable-subscriber plaintiffs stated claims for monopolization and conspiracy under the Sherman Act.
Before Twombly came out on May 21, 2007, the court had denied motions to dismiss and for reconsideration and granted a motion for class certification.
The plaintiffs allege that Comcast acquired and reinforced a dominant position in Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. It did so by, among other ways, agreeing with competing cable providers to "swap" subscribers in other places for ones in those "clusters".
The court, in its 15-page Memorandum, applies Twombly to the class claims but concludes that "the decision — by its own terms — did not impose a heightened pleading standard." Memorandum at 10. The court concludes:
This allegation of an "agreed upon division of markets between competitors in order to suppress competition," makes the Class’ entitlement to relief under section 1 of the Sherman Act (and section 4 of the Massachusetts Antitrust Act in the Boston CACAC) clearly plausible. . . . This conduct, along with Comcast’s later acquisition of AT&T Broadband itself, also makes plausible the claims alleging violation of section 2 of the Sherman Act (and section 5 of the Massachusetts Act in the Boston CACAC), that Comcast monopolized the attempted to monopolize the Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston markets.
Memorandum at 12-13.
Blawgletter’s firm serves as co-lead counsel for the class plaintiffs in Behrend.