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Sirius XM to Face Class-Action Antitrust Claims

But judge denies similar suits filed at the state level

A federal judge has cleared the way for class-action claims to proceed in a lawsuit alleging satellite radio antitrust violations. But at the same time, U.S. District Judge Harold Baer in Manhattan dismissed claims filed under 20 state consumer protection laws, Bloomberg reports.

In 2009, Carl Blessing filed a lawsuit on behalf of himself and other subscribers alleging that after Sirius and XM merged, the new entity illegally raised prices by almost 30 percent. The suit claims unspecified damages, according to the account.

In this week’s ruling, the judge certified a class of Sirius XM subscribers who have paid music royalty fees that Sirius charges in addition to subscription fees since the 2008 merger.

“The surviving claims in this suit — that the Sirius-XM merger lessened competition or led to a monopoly — are matters that have already been passed upon by the United States Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission,” Sirius XM spokesman Patrick Reilly wrote in a statement to Bloomberg.

“With new competitors emerging almost daily, we continue to believe these claims are without merit and intend to vigorously defend this matter.”