District Court preliminarily approves TCPA class action settlement
On August 24, the U.S. District for the Central District of California granted preliminary approval of a TCPA class action settlement with a satellite TV company. According to a memorandum in support of plaintiff’s motion for preliminary approval of class action settlement and certification, the plaintiff class alleged that the defendant violated the TCPA by using an artificial or prerecorded voice to call cell phones without the prior express consent of class members, consisting of about 22,000 individuals. The settlement class would include all people who received non-emergency calls from the defendant and four of its debt collection companies “regarding a debt allegedly owed to [the defendant], to a cellular telephone through the use of an artificial or prerecorded voice, and who has not been a [defendant] customer at any time since October 1, 2004.” The settlement, if approved, requires the defendant to pay an all-cash non-reversionary sum of $17 million. The settlement could also approach or exceed $500 in damages per call for class members who make claims and includes an award of attorney fees of up to $5.61 million, or 33 percent of the settlement fund, in addition to litigation costs. Specifically, the proposed settlement would provide $606.06 per call for settlement class members who received calls from two of the defendant’s debt collectors, and those members will get two shares of the pro rata distribution. Settlement class members who received calls from two other of the defendant’s debt collectors will get $303.03 per call and one share of the pro rata distribution.