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Breaking News: $6 Million Cox Communications Cable Box Jury Verdict Overturned

As we previously reported (click herehere and here to read more), last month, a jury returned a $6.31 million verdict for a class plaintiff in a suit alleging that Cox Communications had illegally tied its premium cable services to rentals of its set-top boxes.  Yesterday, the court granted Cox’s renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law, overturned the jury’s verdict, and entered judgment for Cox.

The court’s ruling turned on its finding that plaintiff had presented insufficient evidence concerning the fourth and fifth elements of a tying claim under the Sherman Act: substantial foreclosure and injury.  The bulk of the court’s opinion focused on the lack of evidence regarding substantial foreclosure.  The court concluded that “Because a set-top box could not be purchased elsewhere, through no fault of Defendant, there is no exploitation of the market or stifling of competition.”  Relatedly, because “there is no evidence that a competitor wished to sell set-top boxes at retail,” plaintiff could not prove injury.

Media outlets have reported that plaintiff is likely to appeal.  Stay tuned.