Telemarketing saga ends with a demand for one-third of the fund

Scofflaw, I Say!

Abante Rooter and Plumbing Inc. v. Alarm.com Inc. went right down to the wire.

The original suit, filed in December 2015, accused Alarm.com of Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) violations, including recorded calls and calls made from autodialers. Some of the calls were made to consumers on the National Do Not Call Registry. Wrapped up in the suit was one of Alarm.com’s “service providers,” Alliance Security. You may remember Alliance in its earlier incarnation as VMS.

No matter the name, the company has had numerous run-ins with TCPA charges, including plenty of attention from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (see our earlier story here). Although Alarm.com was the only named defendant, Alliance was accused of making the offending calls on its behalf to two separate classes of phone owners. The suit contains a comprehensive list of Alliance’s legal run-ins under the heading “Alliance Security and its Predecessor Are Notorious TCPA Scofflaws.”

The Takeaway

In May 2018, Alarm.com failed in a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it wasn’t liable for calls placed by Alliance on its behalf (Alarm.com tried a similar tack with somewhat different results back in late 2017). The case headed for trial that October, but just a month and change short of the opening arguments, the parties settled to the tune of $28 million, along with guarantees that Alarm.com’s practices would change and that Alliance would be kicked to the curb. The class representatives requested service awards of $10,000 each. Attorneys’ fees were capped at 30 percent of the total settlement amount, and litigation costs were estimated at $525,000.

The capacious tribe of plaintiffs’ lawyers in the case went for it, requesting the total available fee payment of $8.4 million and slightly higher costs of more than $529,000.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys were not shy. “The settlement amount is in line with – and in fact superior to – many other TCPA settlements in this circuit and around the country,” their notice reads, “including a long list of cases approved by district courts in California.” Later, the notice lauds the attorneys’ “depth of experience with TCPA claims and class action litigation.” To the victors belong the spoils. Or at least a third of them.