The Epilepsy Foundation of America attempts to save lives through community service, public education, campaigns to further accessible care, increased research initiatives, and raising funds for new therapies. It seems that helping to care for people suffering from epilepsy would be an admirable use of the average American’s disposable income, and the foundation making calls to those Americans to advise them of the chance they have to be involved seems completely above board and admirable at first glance. But once you look at the situation through the lens of the TCPA, things are completely different.
The plaintiff in Hartranft v. Tvi, Inv. Case No.: SACV 15-01081-CJC-DFM, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68269 (C.D. Cal. April 18, 2019) allegedly received a phone call from the Epilepsy Foundation of America. The charity fundraising organization was working with a thrift store attempting to raise money. The plaintiff filed a nationwide TCPA class action against the charity organization and the thrift store they were working with on the fundraiser. The suit was seeking millions.
As often occurs, the case settled. The Court recently approved the settlement agreement reached by the parties in mediation. The class lawyers are to receive $900,000. The class administrator who handles the claims process is to receive $400,000 (some of which is notice cost). The plaintiff will receive $5,000. The class members are to receive a $75.00 coupon for thrift store merchandise or $25.00 cash.
The class include 747,635 members. If all of them make claims (which is unlikely) the settlement fund could be as much as $56 million in merchandise from the Defendant’s stores; which many agree seems to be a fairly exaggerated penalty for a group obviously trying to raise money for charity. Assuming the average claims rate of 10%, the Defendant is looking at about $5 million as a consequence for making phone calls raising money for The Epilepsy Foundation. TCPA violations are serious and can result in massive class actions and hefty settlements.
If you have experienced TCPA violations or if you would like to discuss how to file a class action lawsuit, please get in touch with one of the experienced consumer law attorneys at Aronow Law PC.