DIRECTV, LLC v. Dep’t of RevenueAnnotate this Case
Plaintiffs in this case were two companies subject to the five percent excise tax on video programming delivered by direct broadcast satellite. Plaintiffs brought a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that the tax violates the Commerce Clause of the federal Constitution because it disfavors satellite companies as compared with those companies that provide video programming via cable. A superior court judge granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant, the Department of Revenue. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the cable and satellite companies are not similarly situated, and therefore, Plaintiffs failed to carry their burden of establishing that the excise tax statute was motivated by a discriminatory purpose.