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Time Warner Cable sued in Milwaukee over loss of NBC channel

The logo of Time Warner Cable.
The logo of Time Warner Cable.

A lawsuit has been filed against Time Warner Cable by three customers after the cable service giant dropped Milwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ from its lineup.

The defendants allege Time Warner Cable breached a service contract forged between the cable company and its customers when it dropped WTMJ on July 25.

The lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of all current Time Warner Cable subscribers affected by the change in service.

Time Warner Cable in Milwaukee customers have been without WTMJ for nearly three weeks. On Thursday, Time Warner reportedly told customers they could watch a big exhibition football game featuring the Green Bay Packers on Telemundo in Spanish in lieu of watching on WTMJ.

Time Warner Cable spokesman Eric Mangan told The Desk late Friday afternoon that the company has yet to be served with a copy of the complaint, but said it appeared that one of the plaintiff’s demands for a credit over the loss of WTMJ stems from a “misunderstanding of a Wisconsin statute.”

“This law does not entitle customers to a refund for the loss of WTMJ, but as we’ve said before, if the situation continues for a protracted period of time, we will assess how best to address the issue,” Mangan said.

Customers may believe they are entitled to a refund because WTMJ’s parent company, the Journal Broadcasting Group, has been running advertisement campaigns saying as much, Mangan told The Desk.

“We have written to JBG and demanded that they immediately cease misleading our customers but they have continued to publish the false information,” Mangan said. “In an unfortunate attempt to pressure TWC, we believe that JBG is doing our customers a great public disservice by misleading them this way.”

The Desk was made aware of the lawsuit against Time Warner Cable by a national CBS spokeswoman who emailed a copy of court documents to reporters on Friday. Time Warner Cable and CBS are currently at war over retransmission fees; the cable company removed CBS local channels in over a dozen markets as well as CBS-operated cable channels last week.

Document: Time Warner Cable sued by customers in Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel: Customers sue Time Warner over loss of WTMJ

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).