Top 3 Reasons Byron Allen’s $20 Billion Lawsuit Against Comcast Fell Short

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By CultureBanx Team

  • Entertainment Studios $20B discrimination lawsuit against Comcast has been sent back to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Trump’s Department of Justice backed Comcast in the case

In Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios $20 billion discrimination lawsuit against Comcast (CMCSA -5.91%), the Supreme Court’s Justices unanimously decided to send the case back to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Trump’s Department of Justice briefs were favored by the Supreme Court in why Comcast wasn’t carrying Allen’s channels, with its alternative interpretation of the Reconstruction-era civil rights law. Here are the three main reasons Comcast prevailed, and why Entertainment Studios along with civil rights has been sent back to the drawing board.

Why This Matters: 1. First up, when Trump’s DOJ entered into the ring by backing Comcast things became very tricky. The cable giant garnered government support for its cause with Trump’s administration as they filed briefs supporting Comcast, after the Ninth Circuit court found the case could move forward as long as Entertainment Studios showed racial discrimination was a factor. The DOJ on behalf of Comcast implored the Supreme Court to side with them because they contented the lower court had used the “motivating factor” test instead of the “but for ” causation standard, which is practically an insurmountable task. Basically, this means Allen’s  company would have to prove that racial discrimination tipped the scales towards denial and was not just a motivating factor, Law 360 reported.

Allen’s  company would have to prove that racial discrimination tipped the scales towards denial and was not just a motivating factor

2. The second Reason Allen’s case was sent back was because the Justices wanted to side-step around civil rights by putting the ownership of this decision back on the lower court. Specifically, the key question taken up by the court was whether a claim of race discrimination under the 42 U.S.C. § 1981 statute can proceed without a “but-for causation.” This puts all civil rights at stake when it comes to contracts, and nearly makes it okay legally to discriminate during the contract process at all levels. Now Allen’s lawyers are required to prove that race was absolutely the only reason Comcast didn’t place the company’s channels on its distribution platforms. The Supreme Court said that Entertainment Studios did not “seriously dispute these general principles” and made conflicting arguments about which standard should apply at different stages of the legal process.

3. The third and perhaps most ominous reason Entertainment Studios didn’t succeed in the Supreme Court is because the Justices and Comcast chose to put a price tag on economic inclusion that amounts to $20 billion, at the expense of millions of Americans. Allen is a successful African American media executive and comedian who now controls one of the largest Black-owned media companies. Unfortunately the U.S. Supreme Court decided to side-step being on the wrong side of history when it came to challenging civil rights, since all of the major cable distribution companies are run by white men, and there are zero Black owned pay-TV providers.

Situational Awareness: Comcast said the ruling “centers on a narrow, technical point of law that will not in any way lessen the nation’s civil rights laws.” Entertainment Studios doesn’t agree “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has rendered a ruling that is harmful to the civil rights of millions of Americans” Allen said in a statement.

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