Man Who Says Comcast Got Him Fired From Job Seeks $5M In Damages After Company Smeared Him Publicly

Last fall, we were the first to tell you about Conal O’Rourke, the Comcast customer in California who spent more than a year dealing with consistent over-billing — including $1,820 worth of equipment he’d never ordered nor needed — and horrendous customer service who was fired from his job at Comcast-consulting accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers after he took his complaint to the office of the Comcast controller. Shortly after publishing that story, Conal sued Comcast over the incident, and now he’s amended that lawsuit to allege invasion of privacy and to put a higher dollar amount on the damages being sought.

The amended complaint [PDF] adds a seventh cause of action — invasion of privacy — to the original complaint, claiming that Comcast’s public statements about Conal’s customer service calls involve a public disclosure of private facts.

After Conal filed suit, Comcast released a statement to Consumerist and others, explaining that, “As part of this investigation, we have listened to recorded calls between Mr. O’Rourke and our customer service representatives and his treatment of them and his language is totally unspeakable.”

This statement and description of the customer service calls goes to far, says Conal in the revised lawsuit.

“The recorded customer service telephone calls between Mr. O’Rourke and Comcast are private, and are not the subjects of legitimate public concern,” reads the amended complaint. “Comcast’s public disclosure of the existence and nature of Mr. O’Rourke’s private calls to Comcast customer service – which disclosure falsely portrays Mr. O’Rourke as an individual lacking in decency, ethics and integrity – is offensive and objectionable to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities.”

The lawsuit claims that “Comcast’s conduct towards Mr. O’Rourke was wanton, willful and intentional, and committed with malicious intent.”

The amended complaint now ups the original damages estimate from more than $1 million to more than $5 million.

In a statement to Ars Technica, Conal’s lawyer Harmeet K. Dhillon says it could be years before this lawsuit is resolved.

“That’s how long hard-fought federal lawsuits are taking in this district these days, and Comcast will be opposing it hard,” she explained to Ars. “I can’t say on the record why it didn’t settle, but you can see from Comcast’s public statements that they want to be ‘vindicated.’”

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