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Recent TCPA Cases Demonstrate Risk of Personal Liability for Corporate Officers

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One of the more harrowing particularities of litigation of telemarketing regulations is the fact that corporate officers can occasionally be found personal liable for violations by their employees. Two recent cases provide evidence of this sort of risk.

Once case—Ramsey v. Receivables Performance Mgmt., LLC, Case No. 1:16-cv-1059, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 236094 (S.D. Oh. December 15, 2020).—stems from a debt collector making calls under the mistaken assumption that it had consent to make those calls. The plaintiff alleges that he had revoked consent in his communications with the satellite tv, telephone, and internet company with whom he had originally accrued the debt. The telecom provider apparently did not communicate this revocation when passing the debt on to the collections agency, resulting in violations of the Telephone Communications Protection Act (TCPA) totaling over $122,000 in damages. To compound matters, the CEO of the debt collector may be held personally liable for these damages.

The other case—Mestas v. Chw Grp., No. 19-CV-792 MV/CG, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 236357 (D.N.M. Dec. 16, 2020)—is a bit more idiosyncratic of a case involving alleged violations of various New Mexico state laws as well as the TCPA. But it also involves a corporate officer potentially being held personally liable for alleged violations.