AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A lawsuit brought forward by a number of Texas cities, including the city of Amarillo, against three streaming entities, has officially been moved from state court to federal court, according to documents filed earlier this month in Dallas Federal Court.
This comes after the respective attorneys for Netflix, Hulu and Disney indicated that they would file a notice of removal. That document was officially filed by Netflix’s team on Sept. 16, with Hulu and Disney filing a “joinder in Netflix’s notice of removal.”
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, 25 Texas cities filed a lawsuit against the streaming services back in August, alleging that the platforms did not pay municipal franchise fees that are laid out in the Texas Public Utility Regulatory Act. Other cities involved in the lawsuit include Abilene, Austin, Fort Worth and Houston.
The lawsuit alleges that streaming services are required to pay municipalities a franchise fee under the act if programming is delivered over “wireline facilities located at least in part the public right of way.” According to previous reports, the cities allege that this includes utility poles over streets, along sidewalks or beneath roads.
After the case was moved to federal court, the three defendants filed a document, giving notice of a related case. According to the document, titled “Defendants’ Notice of Related Case” that was filed Sept. 16 in the United States District Court Northern District of Texas Dallas Division, the defendants related this action to the “City of New Boston v. Netflix, Inc., et al.” case filed in the United States District Court Eastern District of Texas in 2021.
According to the document, this other case was brought forward against Netflix and Hulu, with the city of New Boston alleging “essentially identical claims under Chapter 66” of PURA. The claims included that the two streaming services provide “video service” as defined in that portion of PURA.
“On September 30, 2021, the Honorable Robert W. Schroeder III of the Eastern District of Texas dismissed the complaint in City of New Boston, holding that Texas municipalities like Plaintiffs here do not have a right of action under PURA against entities like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ that are not holders of state-issued certificates of franchise authority,” the documents read. “…The City of New Boston did not appeal the judgment in Netflix’s and Hulu’s favor, and that judgment is now final.”
The document also listed a number of other cases involving Netflix and other states’ video service franchise statutes. Those included cases in Reno, Nevada, Gwinnett County Georgia and the Borough of Longport, New Jersey.