United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ROBERT WAINBLAT, for himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
COMCAST CABLE COMMUNICATIONS, LLC, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
DENNIS SAYLOR IV UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action involves a cable subscriber's claims of violations
of his statutory right to privacy. Plaintiff Robert Wainblat
alleges that defendant Comcast Cable Communications, LLC has
violated his rights as a cable television subscriber under
federal and Massachusetts laws. He also asserts class
allegations on behalf of similarly situated individuals.
has moved to compel arbitration pursuant the terms of an
arbitration provision contained within the subscriber
agreement between the parties. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion will be granted.
Factual Allegations of the Complaint
Wainblat is a Massachusetts resident. He alleges that he has
been a subscriber of the cable television services of Comcast
Cable Communications, LLC since approximately September 2013.
(Compl. ¶ 4).
complaint alleges that Comcast deploys a “two-way
cable-network” to deliver targeted advertisements in
violation of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984
(“CCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 521, et seq.
(Compl. ¶ 10). The alleged data collection includes
information such as customer viewing history, income,
ethnicity, education, and product-consumption habits, some of
which may be acquired from third parties. (Id.
¶ 10-12). Comcast allegedly uses that data in
conjunction with data from subscriber Internet usage to sell
high-value targeted ads through Comcast Spotlight, its
advertising arm. (Id. ¶ 13-14). The complaint
further alleges that Comcast uses this data to
“blast” subscribers with ads across multiple
interfaces and media. (Id. ¶ 15).
complaint alleges that those data collection and usage
activities employ “personally identifiable
information” as defined by 47 U.S.C. §
551(a)(2)(A). (Id. ¶ 16-20). It further alleges
that those activities, in conjunction with Comcast's
opt-out data-collection consent practices, violate the CCPA.
(Id. ¶ 21 -25). That statute, in addition to
establishing a framework for cable competition and ownership,
creates various substantive rights concerning
cable-subscriber privacy. See 47 U.S.C. § 551.
Those rights include, among others, the right not to have
personally identifiable information collected or disseminated
without prior written or electronic consent and certain
rights of access and notice of personally identifiable
information collected by a cable service provider.
Id. at § 551 (b)-(d).
complaint also asserts claims under Massachusetts General
Laws Chapter 93A. Specifically, it alleges that Comcast's
failure to provide “clear and conspicuous
disclosures” regarding its information sharing
practices constitutes an unfair and deceptive act and
practice in violation of Chapter 93A. (Compl. ¶ 25).
The Parties' Contractual Relationship
first subscribed to Comcast cable television services for his
residence in Boston beginning on August 26, 2013. (Def. Mot.
Compel Arb. 3; see also Compl. ¶ 26). At the
time of that first installation, he received a “Welcome
Kit” that included copies of a Privacy Notice and a
Subscriber Agreement, which contained an arbitration clause.
(D. Mot. Compel Arb. 3).
October 2016, Wainblat self-installed Comcast services under
a new account at a new address. (Id.). Included in
the self-install kit were copies of the then-current
Subscriber Agreement and Privacy Notice. (Id.).
August 2017, Comcast inserted a revised Subscriber Agreement
(the “2017 Subscriber Agreement) into Wainblat's
Comcast bill. (Id.). According to the terms of the
2017 Subscriber Agreement, Wainblat accepted the revised
agreement through continued receipt of Comcast services.
(Id. at 4).
2017 Subscriber Agreement contained an arbitration provision
(the “Arbitration Provision”). It covers
any claim or controversy related to [Comcast] or our
relationship, including but not limited to any and all: (1)
claims for relief and theories of liability, whether based in
contract, tort, fraud, negligence, statute, regulation,
ordinance, or otherwise; (2) claims that arose before this or
any prior Agreement; (3) claims that arise after the
expiration or termination ...