Cox Class Action alleges violations of Sherman Antitrust Act

As of May 26th, 2009, 21 cases have been filed against Cox et. al., alleging transgressions of the Sherman Antitrust Act and various state laws intended to prevent unlawful tying arrangements. The Berniard Law Firm, along with co-counsel, filed the first cause of action against Cox et. al. with the other law firms following behind shortly thereafter.

The Sherman Antitrust Act, established in 1890, was the first federal statute to attempt to limit businesses in the sphere of monopolies. Fundamentally antiturst law, the act works to prevent business practices that limit fair and open markets. The Act reads “Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony.” Simply put, the Sherman Antitrust Act was implemented to make sure the people were not taken advantage of by big business while also keeping companies in check and limited from dominating one realm of commerce.

In this vein, antitrust law also prevents the illegal tying of a product to a business’ service. That is to say, the law provides protection to consumers from a company requiring the exclusive use of a specific item in order to fully enjoy whatever service the consumer is subscribing to or using. In the case of Cox, the Berniad Law Firm and co-counsel allege that the exclusivity rooted in the specific use of the set-top box necessary for premium cable and attainable only through rental is an example of illegal tying.

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