On November 21, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted preliminary approval of a proposed $600,000 settlement of a class action lawsuit filed by a consumer against M3 Financial Services, Inc., an Illinois-based health care debt collector. The lawsuit, styled Elaine Mason et al. v. M3 Financial Services Inc., alleged that M3 placed more than one million calls to cellular telephones without prior express consent in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Originally filed on May 12, 2015, the lawsuit alleged that M3, in its attempts to contact debtors, placed autodialed and prerecorded calls that were instead received by individuals who were not debtors. The proposed class is based on 19,385 unique cell phone numbers contacted between May 2011 and May 2016 that did not belong to a debtor or guarantor on the underlying account for which a call was placed. This represents approximately one-fourth of the cell phone numbers called by M3 during the time period at issue.

The proposed settlement, which requires private mediation and considerable subsequent negotiations, provides for a fund of $600,000 from which will be paid class members as well as attorneys’ fees and costs and administration costs.