LAFAYETTE, Colo. — It’s been called a case of David vs. Goliath.
In one corner: Comcast. In the other: a Lafayette homeowner who doesn’t want the cable giant digging up his backyard for the installation of a new neighborhood fiber optic line.
That homeowner, Andrew O'Connor, has always been an outspoken critic of corporate greed.
"All they care about is the bottom line,” O’Connor said. “They put profits before people."
So, when Comcast came knocking on his front door this past fall, O'Connor was poised for a fight.
"In America, corporations never admit they are wrong,” O’Connor said.
O'Connor takes us in his backyard and shows us what's at issue. A little green box in his backyard.
"And they're trying to get to the box here," O’Connor said.
Comcast insists it needs access to the box to finish-up a fiber optic upgrade in the neighborhood.
O'Connor contends they can go around him.
"They're just one of the most dishonest, reviled corporations in the United States," O’Connor said.
The dispute is over two core questions: Is Comcast a public utility? And does it have a right to access the easement?
"The answer is, 'No,' to both questions,” O’Connor said. “They can't win."
No one has yet. Comcast sued O'Connor this fall, the case went to the state district court, and this month a judge remanded it to federal court.
“They had three lawyers, five witnesses,” O’Connor said. “I am sure Comcast is jumping up and down and furious saying, 'Hey - what are you guys doing? You're getting your ass kicked by some guy - you know - some ordinary Colorado guy that lives on a cul-de-sac,” O’Connor said.
In a statement to Denver7 - Comcast said:
“Earlier in December, Boulder District Court granted Comcast a Temporary Restraining Order validating our legal right to access this easement in order to finish our work to improve our network for the benefit of residents in the area. The Defendant moved the case from state court to federal court, which is a procedural delay, but doesn’t change the merits of our case. As of today, the Defendant still has not complied with the state court’s order. Pursuant to that order, Comcast attempted to access the Defendants property while the Temporary Restraining Order was in effect, but received no answer when knocking on the door, so left property without entering. We have approximately one hour of work to do in the Defendant’s property in order to finish the project, and we are hopeful this can be resolved very soon.”
O’Connor disagrees. “I can’t count the number of lies they have told,” O’Connor said. "They're going to lose. And they're going to get spanked again like they got spanked in state court."