On February 10th, 2009, the Berniard Law Firm filed suit against Cox et. al. on behalf of a putative class over, what they allege to be, antitrust violations relating to set-top boxes and Cox’s rental policy of such. A putative class is one in which a collective group of people have all suffered a similar harm or common wrong. On March 4th, Cox (hereafter referred to as Defendant) filed a Notice of Removal to take the matter out of state court and put it into federal court. Less than a week later, Defendant filed a Motion for Extension of Time to Answer, nothing more than a request for an extension to address the matter. This request was granted.
On the 12th of March, The Berniard Law Firm, with attorneys Madro Bandaries and Gregory DiLeo, filed to be entered as Interim Co-Lead Counsel with Madro Bandaries and Gregory DiLeo as interim liaison Co-Counsel. The defense filed a Motion to Stay on March 20th that specifically requested the Court to stop all litigation and wait for the MDL Panel to rule on what venue would be taken. The same day, the defense also filed a Motion to Expedite asking for the court to expedite consideration on this stay to avoid further delays. This request for expediting consideration of the stay was granted three days later.
While the defense has submitted an opposition to the Berniard Law Firm being considered lead counsel, filed on March 23, the Berniard Law Firm has filed with the court their desires to continue litigation of the case on behalf of the plaintiffs. Since then, various motions and responses have been filed regarding oppositions to stay the case. March 26th the Berniard Law Firm filed an opposition to Cox’s motion to stay pretrial proceedings citing the undue hardship suffered by the plaintiffs as they continue to be charged for what we allege to be an unfair service practice.
On April 1st, the hearing on the Motion to Stay and Motion for Lead Counsel were held before the court. Prior to the hearing, Berniard et. al. attorneys were contacted and agreed to work with other attorneys who filed similar causes of action against Cox after the Berniard filing. In the best interest of the class and proceedings against Cox, the firm agreed to work with these other attorneys. The same day, a Motion Hearing was filed and entered and an Amended Complaint was submitted in court stating both sides will meet again in two weeks. The hearing was continued to the 14th so that Berniard et. al. and new attorneys could work on resolving the stay issue and Motion for Lead Counsel matter without court intervention with Cox defense attorneys. An agreement failed to be reached so, at the hearing on the 14th, parties argued the Stay Motion and issues relating to the preservation of evidence. The stay was granted one week later, with the Court ruling such a pause was acceptable while ordering Cox to preserve evidence in the meantime.
While this timeline features an excess of legalese and motions based upon what some people would consider insignificant, it is important for those interested in the case because it demonstrates an active and forward-moving process in which the Berniard Law Firm is progressing the class action. The court’s ruling on April 21st to force Cox to preserve evidence in the midst of the stay is a win for Plaintiffs as it essentially locks in and maintains the legitimacy of those items and issues which we argue demonstrate Cox’s unfair business practices.
Be sure to continue to follow the Cox class action website (http://www.CoxClassAction.com) for more updates as the case proceeds.