A federal jury has ruled against Cox Communications, saying the company violated antitrust laws and awarding $6.31 million in damages to subscribers who sued the company, Multichannel News reports.
The Oklahoma jury reportedly deliberated for three days before returning its decision saying Cox improperly tied premium cable service to set-top rentals.
Todd Smith, a spokesman for Cox, responded to the decision, saying: “Cox is disappointed in the verdict, but gratified that the jury recognized most of the damages plaintiffs were seeking were unwarranted.”
Smith also said the company has filed a motion to overturn the verdict.
The report cites attorneys for the plaintiffs saying that under the law the award could be tripled to almost $19 million, along with additional costs and attorneys’ fees.
The Hollywood Reporter calls the case a landmark and a win for cable subscribers. The Oklahoma case was the first to make it to trial, THR notes, with a number of similar antitrust suits in the works.
“A national class action wasn’t certified because of differences in geographic markets, but consolidated actions have been proceeding in various regions of the country,” THR notes.
At issue in the trial, which lasted eight days, was whether subscribers were effectively coerced into renting set-top boxes by Cox’s bundling of box leases with the ability to obtain premium cable offerings, the THR report notes.