The Federal Trade Commission’s ‘deceptive advertising’ lawsuit against DIRECTV is in serious jeopardy today after a federal judge said the agency may not have offered sufficient evidence in trial to support its case, according to Law360.
The lawsuit, which charges the satcaster with engaging in deceptive practices from 2007 to 2015, went to trial last week in the court of U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. in Oakland.
The FTC suit, which was originally filed in federal court in March 2015, said DIRECTV’s discounted 12-month promotional plans failed to disclose they required a two-year contract. The agency added that the satcaster did not disclose that a customer might have to pay up to $45 a month more in the second year of the deal.
The FTC has demanded that DIRECTV pay $3.95 billion for the alleged deceptive practices.
But Law360 reports that Gilliam on Friday paused the trial after the FTC rested its case, saying there was a “substantial issue” whether the agency had offered sufficient evidence.
Gilliam then told DIRECTV’s attorneys to file for partial judgment motions within the next two weeks. The partial judgment motions would be to ask the judge to immediately rule in favor of DIRECTV without the trial going further.
Based on Gilliam’s remarks on Friday, the judge seems prepared to approve such a motion. The judge has scheduled for the trial to resume on September 5.
DIRECTV, which is now owned by AT&T, has blasted the FTC’s complaint, saying in a statement that the agency is “flat-out wrong. We will vigorously defend ourselves, for as long as it takes…We go above and beyond to ensure that every new customer receives all the information they need, multiple times, to make informed and intelligent decisions.”
— Phillip Swann