Netflix lawsuit dismissed
LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - A multi-million-dollar class action lawsuit against Netflix and Walmart that alleged the two companies had conspired to carve up the DVD rental and sales market between them has been dismissed.
On Tuesday, District Judge Phyllis Hamilton granted the video-rental giant's motion for summary judgment.
A trial in the anti-trust case was scheduled to take place in January in Oakland, California, but will not move forward.
"We're obviously pleased with the court's decision here as we've always said this case had no merit," Steve Swasey, a spokesman for Netflix, told TheWrap.
An attorney for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Judge Hamilton found that the plaintiffs could not prove that Netflix had worked in concert with the retailer by agreeing not to sell DVDs. In return for Netflix's promise, the suit alleged that Walmart agreed not to enter the online rental market.
"Defendants' conspiracy enabled Netflix to charge its customers higher subscription prices for the rental of DVDs than it otherwise would have," the suit alleged. "As a result of their contract, combination, and conspiracy, as well as Netflix's unlawfully acquired and maintained market and monopoly power, Netflix actually did overcharge Plaintiff, and millions of other consumers similarly situated, and continues to do so."
Plaintiffs were seeking damageqd of between $493 million and $654 million, according to Reuters.
Not that the plaintiffs have been left entirely empty-handed. Last year, Walmart reached a $27.25 million settlement over the class-action charges.
That means that the roughly 25 million Netflix customers who subscribed to the service between May 19, 2005, and September 2, 2011, could be eligible for roughly $1 in damages.
That's almost enough to rent a movie from Redbox.
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