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MANHATTAN CABLE TV, INC. v. CABLE DOCTOR

June 22, 1993

MANHATTAN CABLE TELEVISION, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
THE CABLE DOCTOR, INC. and KENNETH SANDERS, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MORRIS E. LASKER

 LASKER, D.J.

 The Cable Doctor, Inc. and its principal, Kenneth Sander, (collectively the "Cable Doctor"), without authority from Manhattan Cable Television, Inc. ("MCTV"), have previously installed "second" outlets for the reception of cable programming in the homes of MCTV's customers. MCTV brought suit to enjoin Cable Doctor from doing so and Cable Doctor earlier moved to dismiss the complaint. By an Order and Opinion dated October 8, 1992, we granted the Motion to Dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, finding that Cable Doctor's alleged conduct did not violate the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 or the Communications Act of 1934. Manhattan Cable Television, Inc. v. Cable Doctor, Inc., 802 F. Supp. 1103 (S.D.N.Y. 1992).

 On October 5, 1992, three days prior to our decision dismissing MCTV's complaint, Congress enacted the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, Pub. L. No. 102-385, 106 Stat. 1460. This new federal legislation amended the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 and MCTV now moves under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6) for relief from the dismissal of its complaint, for leave to file an amended complaint under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a) and for a preliminary injunction.

 i. Rule 60(b)(6).

 Rule 60(b) provides that "on motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party . . . from a final judgment, order or proceeding for . . . (6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment," Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). Rule 60(b)(6) "confers broad discretion on the trial court to grant relief when 'appropriate to accomplish justice,'" Matarese v. Le Fevre, 801 F.2d 98, 106 (2d Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 480 U.S. 908 (1987), and "constitutes a 'grand reservoir of equitable power to do justice in a particular case,'" id.

 MCTV argues that relief under Rule 60(b)(6) is warranted on the basis of the new factual allegations and the new legal authorities set forth in its proposed amended complaint, including the recent amendment to the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984. Cable Doctor counters that MCTV is simply seeking reargument of the issues resolved by this Court's earlier decision and that accordingly no relief is warranted under Rule 60(b)(6). See Cruickshank & Co. v. Dutchess Shipping Co., 805 F.2d 465, 468 (2d Cir. 1986) (Rule 60(b)(6) relief denied where appellant did not advance new claims or new facts).

 Relief under Rule 60(b)(6) is granted because, as discussed below, the new federal legislation establishes that, contrary to our earlier opinion, the unauthorized installation of second outlet service violates 47 U.S.C. § 553(a)(1) of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984.

 MCTV's original complaint alleged that Cable Doctor's installation of second outlet service violated 47 U.S.C. § 553(a)(1) which provides that:

 
No person shall intercept or receive or assist in intercepting or receiving any communications service offered over a cable system, unless specifically authorized to do so by a cable operator or as may otherwise be specifically authorized by law.

 47 U.S.C. § 553 (a)(1). Our earlier opinion concluded that second outlet service was not a "communications service offered over a cable system" and that, accordingly, Cable Doctor's conduct was not prohibited by this provision.

 
the regulations prescribed by the Commission under this subsection shall include standards to establish . ...

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