SAN DIEGO (October 16, 2013)
Marking the largest settlement since the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was enacted in 1991, a San Diego attorney has settled a milestone “robo-calling” class action lawsuit against Bank of America for more than $32 million.
Attorney Mark Ankcorn, of counsel to San Diego-based CaseyGerry, filed and litigated the case – which stemmed from charges the banking giant harassed consumers who fell behind on mortgage and credit card payments – for more than two years. According to Ankcorn, this is the largest cash payout ever under the TCPA, designed to protect consumers from unwanted phone calls. Settlement papers were filed in federal court in San Jose and the proceeds will go to nearly eight million consumers in the class.
As the nation’s largest mortgage servicer, Bank of America was violating federal law by making hundreds of millions of illegal calls each year, Ankcorn said.
“Consumers who fell behind on mortgage payments were harassed by Bank of America relentlessly,” he said. “When someone was late on payments, Bank of America would transfer all known telephone numbers for the account into a computerized calling system that would make as many as seven calls per day, per number. This harassment was intense and ongoing – and violated federal law by running up cell phone bills for millions of consumers across the country.”
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the number of robo-calls is soaring – thanks to new, inexpensive technology that enables companies to send out thousands of calls per minute.
Making auto-dialed calls to cell phones without the customer’s consent is illegal under the TCPA.
As part of the settlement, Bank of America also agreed to implement sweeping changes to its business practices and obtain separate consent before making any robo-dialed call to a cell phone.
CaseyGerry was established in 1947, and is the oldest plaintiffs’ law firm in San Diego. The firm’s 15 attorneys practice in numerous areas, including asbestos, serious personal injury, product liability and pharmaceutical litigation. Headquartered at 110 Laurel St. in the Banker’s Hill neighborhood of San Diego, the firm also has an office in Carlsbad, Calif. For more information, visit www.caseygerry.com.