Two recient cases indicate that not only are private plaintiffs suing at a higher rate, but also state’s Attorney General offices are involved as well. With such increased involvement, this is another reason companies and marketers should be scrubbing federal and state do-not-call lists.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Files Suit Alleging State Telemarketing Law Violations
The Pennsylvania Attorney General office announced that it filed a civil lawsuit against a home chimney cleaning company and its owner. The AG alleges that representatives of the company and its affiliates made hundreds of thousands of unsolicited phone calls to people registered on Pennsylvania’s Do Not Call list. The lawsuit names Interstate Ventilation Inc. and its owner, Adam Joyce, claiming that they violated the PA Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and the Telemarketer Registration Act. Additionally, the complaint alleges that the defendants placed numerous calls to individuals after being told to be placed on the defendants’ internal do-not-call lists, among other similarly related allegations.
The lawsuit seeks to issue an injunction against Joyce and the companies from engaging in telemarketing in PA. It seeks a $1,000 penalty for every violation of the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, as well as a $3,000 penalty for every violation involving a consumer 60 years old or older.
Missouri Attorney General Case Survives Motion to Dismiss in TCPA Case
The Missouri Attorney General’s office filed suit against Charter Communications, Inc. in federal court in October 2015 alleging violations of federal and state telemarketing and “do-not-call” laws. Earlier this year, Charter filed a motion to dismiss the three counts from the complaint claiming that the Missouri AG failed to cite any specific examples of individuals who were on the federal or state do-not-call lists, and failed to allege that calls were made to cellular telephones in violation of the TCPA.
The Court sided with the Missouri AG on the first and third causes of action stating that “identification of each specific telephone number called is not required at this stage of the litigation.” The Court sided with Charter on the second TCPA claim in the complaint finding that the AG was required to plead that calls were made to cell phones in order to state that calls made with an ATDS violated the TCPA. This count was dismissed without prejudice—giving the AG an easy opportunity to amend their pleadings.