Facing a full plate of Telephone Consumer Protection Act litigation, Papa John's settled one of the class actions filed against it for $16.5 million.
In an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of the deal filed by the plaintiff, the parties estimated that the nationwide class consisted of roughly 220,000 consumers who received at least one unsolicited text message that advertised a branded Papa John's product from its marketing company, OnTime4U.
Pursuant to the proposed settlement, all class members provided with notice of the settlement would automatically receive a merchandise credit for a free Papa John's pizza, an estimated value of $13. In addition, class members who submit a valid claim form could receive a $50 payment.
Papa John's also agreed to pay the cost of claims administration and promised not to oppose a $25,000 incentive award for the named plaintiff and more than $2.4 million in attorneys' fees and costs.
In seeking the approval of U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour, the parties emphasized their hard-fought battle before reaching an agreement. The plaintiffs filed six separate complaints, all of which received vigorous opposition from the defendant, and the parties engaged in extensive discovery. "The many hundred docket entries of the court's file reflect how diligently this case has been litigated for over three years," according to the motion.
Papa John's declined any and all liability in the settlement. The company raised several lines of defense in the suit, including an argument as to whether class members conferred sufficient consent to be subsequently texted a pizza coupon when they disclosed their telephone numbers during their purchase of a pizza.
To read the plaintiff's unopposed motion for settlement in Agne v. Papa John's, click here.
To register for Manatt's upcoming webinar, "Are You Ready for New TCPA Consent Requirements?" click here.
Why it matters: If the settlement is approved, one slice of Papa John's TCPA litigation pie will be removed from its plate. The pizza company still faces other suits, including a class action in Virginia federal court, where the company recently lost a summary judgment motion. At least the company saved some money on the Washington suit. After Judge Coughenour certified the class last November, class counsel issued a press release estimating damages at more than $250 million (based on the maximum statutory damages under the TCPA of $1,500 per text message).