An enormous class of 600,000-plus might have been a deciding factor
In May, Miami-Dade County resident Zoey Bloom filed an ambitious class action complaint against weight-loss giant Jenny Craig in the Southern District of Florida. The suit alleged that the diet company texted Bloom with special offers to join its program, even though Bloom never provided consent for the contact.
The suit, relying on earlier decisions, also maintained that the message itself – its length and use of a short code – inferred that the contacts were made by an autodialing system. Specifically, the system was alleged to be a “combination of hardware and software systems” that have the “current capacity or present ability to generate or store random or sequential numbers or to dial sequentially or randomly …”
“Current capacity or present ability:" It’s an interesting choice of words, given the recent back-and-forth about what constitutes an autodialer system in the first place (see our previous report on a case caught up in that controversy here). Bloom certainly seemed to be placing one foot on either side of the debate about whether capacity or ability defines what an autodialer is. Bloom sued Jenny Craig on behalf of a nationwide class for knowing and willful violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act; all told, she estimated that the $1,500 per-call penalty multiplied by the class size would exceed $5 million.
A settlement was reached in short order, with an agreement reached in July and a final motion made in early August.
The total cash payment from the company amounted to $3 million, $250,000 of which will be used for costs and fees. Jenny Craig denied the allegations in the original complaint as well as any liability.
If $3 million seems like a lot, consider the size of the class as defined by the settlement – 628,610 members. At $1,500 a pop, that’s quite a bit of money.
The savings might have been too hard to resist for Jenny Craig.