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Time Warner customers file class-action suit against cable provider

By Jennifer Arellano

In addition to their standoff with CBS, Time Warner Cable will now have to deal with customer complaints in another public arena: court.

Time Warner customers in Wisconsin filed a class-action suit against the cable provider on Thursday, Aug. 8, for dropping WTMJ-TV from the cable lineup, reports the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

WTMJ-TV is based in Milwaukee, Wis., and owned by the Journal Broadcast Group. The channel is also an NBC affiliate (though NBC declined to comment, since the station is not owned by NBCUniversal).

Time Warner Cable removed WTMJ-TV from their programming offerings on July 25. The cable provider dropped the channel from the lineup due to a contract dispute, reports the Journal Sentinel.

EW reached out to Time Warner Cable, but a spokesperson declined to comment.

According to court documents, the plaintiffs — Steven Delonge, Paul Scoptur, and Stephen Raymonds –  are seeking class action status on behalf of Time Warner Cable subscribers in Wisconsin. They allege that the removal of WTMJ-TV qualifies as a breach of contract between the cable provider and subscriber. Also in the court documents, the plaintiffs are seeking “a credit for one day of video programming for each day that the service interruption has lasted more than 4 hours,” citing a Wisconsin statue.

WTMJ-TV is one of six Journal Broadcast Group stations in Wisconsin, Nebraska, and California currently blacked out by Time Warner Cable.

“We are seeking fair market compensation for our signals in those markets,” Jim Prather, executive vice president of Journal Broadcast Group, told EW. “This is the first time in Journal Broadcast Group history we’ve ever come off a cable or satellite provider,” he added.

The class-action suit is the latest in the wave of developments since Time Warner Cable blacked out CBS stations in several major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas on Aug. 2 over failed contract negotiations.

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