Court Clears Path for Stock-Drop Class Action

A former Comcast Corp. employee is qualified to serve as a class representative in a stock-drop lawsuit against Comcast Corp., a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled as he certified the participant case as a class action.

U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania rejected the company’s argument that plaintiff Janell T. Moore should not be allowed to pursue her stock-drop claims because she had not suffered a monetary loss from what she argued was Comcast’s artificially inflated stock.  Rather, Battle said Moore had come forward with enough evidence that her individual plan had been diminished.

The court also found that the release of legal claims against the company Moore signed when she left Comcast would not preclude her from serving as a class representative. The court said the document would not prevent her from recovering losses that occurred after she signed it.

Finally, Comcast asserted that any losses Moore sustained in her company stock investments through the Comcast 401(k) should be offset by a profit she made when she exercised her stock options. Battle rejected the claim, saying the stock options and the 401(k) were separate matters.

Moore argued in her lawsuit that Comcast and its top executives breached their Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) fiduciary duties by continuing to offer company stock in its retirement plan even when it was no longer prudent. Moore alleged that the ERISA breaches occurred between February 1, 2007 and December 5, 2007. 

The case is Moore v. Comcast Corp., E.D. Pa., No. 08-773.