By Lee Reinsch
Cable TV made a West Bend man addicted to TV, caused his wife to be overweight and his kids to be lazy, he says.
And he’s threatening to sue the cable company.
Timothy Dumouchel of West Bend wants $5,000 or three computers, and a lifetime supply of free Internet service from Charter Communications to settle what he says will be a small claims suit.
Dumouchel blames Charter for his TV addiction, his wife’s 50-pound weight gain and his children’s being “lazy channel surfers,” according to a Fond du Lac police report.
Charter employees called police to the local office at 165 Knight’s Way the evening of Dec. 23 after Dumouchel showed up with a small claims complaint, reportedly intimidated an employee and made “low-level threats” to employees’ safety, according to a police report.
The report states Dumouchel gave an employee five minutes to get a supervisor to talk to him or their next contact would be “in the ocean with the sharks.”
According to the report, Dumouchel told Charter employees he plans to sue because his cable connection remained intact four years after he tried to get it canceled.
The result was that he and his family got free cable from August of 1999 to Dec. 23, 2003.
“I believe that the reason I smoke and drink every day and my wife is overweight is because we watched TV every day for the last four years,” Dumouchel stated in a written complaint against the company, included in a Fond du Lac police report.
“But the reason I am suing Charter is they did not let me make a decision as to what was best for myself and my family and (they have been) keeping cable (coming) into my home for four years after I asked them to turn it off.”
According to the police report, Dumouchel called Charter to stop his cable service in August of 1999 and was taken off the billing but not the cable service.
In a written statement, he said he put the family TV in the basement in 1999 after he had called to get cable disconnected, but soon thereafter, his wife had moved it back and hooked up the cable connection, and it still worked.
He stated he “made a deal” with her that “she could watch TV as long as the cable worked.”
He then went back to Charter and asked that they disconnect his service, which they reportedly never did.
He stated that he called Charter several times to get the service disconnected for good because he felt it was addictive, according to the report.
Charter’s director of government and public relations for eastern Wisconsin, John Miller, says he doesn’t take the threat of a lawsuit seriously.
“Even though we consider our services to be a very powerful entertainment product, I don’t think it’s reached a medical level yet where it could be proved to be addictive,” Miller said.
“In our society, any kind of legal action shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone,” he added.
Wisconsin Circuit Court records show no civil lawsuit papers filed in Dumouchel’s name.