Court approves $8.5 million class action settlement with global money service for alleged TCPA violations
On August 31, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved an $8.5 million class action settlement resolving allegations that a global money service violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending unsolicited text messages to class members. While the court approved the full settlement amount, it only awarded 5 percent of the fund to the class counsel, as opposed to the 35 percent requested, noting counsel’s “disquieting conduct” related to a class objector and lack of billing records supporting the “substantial work” counsel claimed to have performed on the case (reportedly more than 2.5 times the hours spent by defense counsel). Of the $8.5 million required to be paid by the company, the court modified the agreement to provide class member claims over $7.5 million. The court determined that the settlement “provides fair actual cash value to the class,” as the company had potential defenses to the pending litigation; there was legal uncertainty as to whether the telecommunications equipment used by the company was actually an “automatic telephone dialing system” under the TCPA; and the inherent expense in litigation and proceeding to trial for the class.