On November 10, 2016, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an order preliminarily approving a $1.1 million settlement of a class action brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The TCPA class action was commenced by Stewart Abramson against Alpha Gas and Electric, LLC (“Alpha”), a provider of gas and electric service in the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The named plaintiff alleged that on June 1, 2015, he received an unsolicited telemarketing call from Alpha sent through use of an automated dialer, despite the fact that he had never consented to receive such telemarketing calls. Shortly after the complaint was filed, the Court agreed to stay the litigation while the parties entered into mediation. The settlement agreement that has been preliminarily approved by the Court was arrived at through the mediation process.
What are the Terms of Alpha’s TCPA Class Action Settlement Agreement?
Terms of Alpha’s TCPA Class Action Settlement Agreement
Pursuant to the TCPA class action settlement agreement, Alpha will pay $1.1 million into a settlement fund. In addition, pursuant to the settlement agreement, plaintiff’s counsel shall move for an award of attorneys’ fees representing one-third of the settlement amount. Plaintiff also seeks an incentive award of $10,000.00.
Potential class members will have until February 8, 2017 to object to the settlement agreement or otherwise opt-out of the settlement. The Court will hold a final-approval hearing on April 19, 2017.
TCPA class action complaints expose defendants to potentially significant financial costs and penalties, even when an amenable settlement is reached. We previously blogged about a recent $5.2 million TCPA class action settlement. Given such risk, it is important that competent counsel is consulted prior to engaging in any telemarketing campaign to ensure compliance with the TCPA and other state and federal telemarking laws, rules and regulations.