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Citing to principles of comity, a federal district court remanded back to state court a class action suit brought by Indiana municipalities seeking franchise fees from various streaming video companies.
The Indiana municipalities filed a class action lawsuit against the streaming video companies in state court, asserting that the companies were obligated to pay franchise fees under Indiana’s Video Service Franchise Act (“VSF Act”). The video streaming companies removed the action to federal court, but the municipalities then moved the federal court to remand the action back to state court, arguing that the matter was more appropriate for Indiana courts under the doctrine of comity.
Agreeing with the municipalities, the court applied the “confluence of factors” adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Levin v. Commerce Energy, Inc., 560 U.S. 413 (2010) in reaching its decision that comity warranted abstention. Applying the factors identified in Levin, the court determined that:
As such, the court concluded that these considerations, “in combination,” warranted remand to state court in “deference to the state adjudicative process.”
Order, City of Fishers v. Netflix, Inc., No. 1:20-cv-02351-JMS-MPB (S.D. Ind. Nov. 18, 2020)