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Recent Multimillion-Dollar Settlements Show TCPA Danger Remains

100 dollar bill buried in the sand

Posted by Chris Alarie on Wed, 10/05/2022 - 12:16

Sometimes it may mistakenly seem as if all is quiet on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) front. The number of TCPA lawsuits and class actions have been on the decline since the Facebook decision. Some litigators are turning their focus to state-level mini-TCPAs. Even within the realm of TCPA litigation, plaintiffs and litigators seem to be abandoning the monstrously lucrative automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) complaints for lawsuits that focus on the supposedly less damaging aspects of the law, such as the Do Not Call (DNC) list. Even Eric Troutman at TCPAWorld has pointed out the relatively low number of decisions in TCPA cases in recent months. However, these seeming trends do not mean that the dangers of TCPA have abated in any significant way. Indeed, two recent, multimillion-dollar TCPA settlements demonstrate that the most severe TCPA risks remain, even in the post-Facebook landscape.

In Wesley v. Snap Finance, the case centered on 60,000 calls to wrong numbers. The parties agreed to settle for $5 million, with the court granting preliminary approval last month. In Gebka v. Allstate, the complaint centered on a smaller number of alleged calls to phone numbers on the DNC list. However, those 7,451 calls resulted in a whopping $4.5 million settlement. Compare the disparity between the approximately $83-per-person Snap settlement to the $600-per-person Allstate settlement. Ultimately, the most important takeaway is that multimillion-dollar TCPA settlements have not gone the way of the dinosaur. The sources of risk may change and the pathway to damages may be slightly different than in the past, but the risks and consequences remain.