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Netflix, Inc. & Hulu, LLC

CASE CAPTION Borough of Longport and Township of Irvington v. Netflix, Inc. and Hulu, LLC
COURT United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
CASE NUMBER 21-cv-15303-SRC
JUDGE Honorable Stanley R. Chesler
PLAINTIFF Borough of Longport and Township of Irvington
DEFENDANTS Netflix, Inc. and Hulu, LLC

Kessler Topaz represents two New Jersey municipalities, the Borough of Longport and the Township of New Jersey, in a putative class action against Netflix and Hulu seeking to recover unpaid franchise fees under the Cable Television Act. Under that Act, cable television companies are required to pay New Jersey municipalities a mandatory franchise fee equal to 2% of their subscriptions in the municipality’s jurisdiction. As more and more people “cut the cord” and move from traditional cable television subscriptions to streaming services offered by companies like Netflix and Hulu, New Jersey municipalities have been deprived of the franchise fees that they have collected from traditional cable television companies and relied upon for decades.

Plaintiffs filed their Class Action Complaint on August 13, 2021, asking the Court to order that Netflix and Hulu abide by the Cable Television Act and pay what they owe to New Jersey municipalities. On May 20, 2022, after briefing on defendants’ motions to dismiss, the District Court held that the Cable Television Act did not confer a private right of action and that only the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (the “BPU”) had the right to assert such claims.  Plaintiffs have appealed the District Court’s decision to the Third Circuit. The appeal is fully briefed and awaiting a decision.

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