illegal robocall

Company Forced to Pay Nearly $1 Billion in Damages for Illegal Robocalls

A federal judge recently upheld an award of nearly $1 billion in a class-action lawsuit against a marketing company that placed nearly 2 million recorded robocalls. In the original case, a jury found that the company, ViSalus, had conducted unlawful telemarketing practices by placing almost 2 million recorded robocalls offering deals on dietary supplements, weight-loss products, and energy drinks.

The suit was filed by an Oregon woman who had once been an employee of the company. In her lawsuit, the ex-employee argued that the company’s practice of placing prerecorded calls was in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). 

Under the TCPA, a consumer who receives robocalls, telemarketing calls, or unsolicited faxes to his or her cellphone or residential landline may file a lawsuit against the telemarketer or debt collector. The potential penalties for violations of the TCPA are as follows

  • A penalty of up to $500 for each violation of the do not call registry
  • A penalty of up to $500 per phone call that violates the TCPA
  • A penalty of up to $1,500 for each knowing and willful violation of the TCPA 

In this case, the court determined that ViSalus made 1,850,436 unlawful automated calls, resulting in a fine of $500 per call. In the federal court’s opinion, the court stated that the award amount was based on a simple application of the TCPA. Noting the “stratospheric” number of TCPA violations in the case, the court stated that it was unsurprising that the constitutionally valid minimum penalty of $500 per call resulted in such a large award. In doing so, it dismissed ViSalus’s argument that the size of the award was unconstitutional, stating that the crux of ViSalus’s argument was that if a defendant commits a violation enough times, the penalty for a single violation becomes unconstitutional. 

Elaborating on this point, the court cited a 2020 opinion by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was a case the government brought against Dish Network. In that case, the court held that a defendant can’t complain about the consequences of its own extensive misconduct when such conduct results in a large penalty due to the excessive number of violations committed by the defendant. 

Contact a Florida TCPA Attorney 

If you’ve received unsolicited robocalls, our experienced Florida TCPA attorney is here to help you obtain compensation for your troubles. When you contact experienced and knowledgeable attorney Seth Lehrman, he’ll diligently pursue financial compensation on your behalf. Seth Lehrman represents individuals who have received unwanted robocalls or texts in TCPA cases in Florida and nationwide. If your TCPA claim is successful, you are eligible to recover up to $1500 for each documented violation of the TCPA law. Therefore, if you have received unsolicited robocalls or have been subjected to other harassing behavior by telemarketers, please contact us today for a free consultation.

lawyer explaining a class action lawsuit

An Overview of Class Action Lawsuits

Although most people have heard of class action lawsuits, not many have a good understanding of them. Broadly speaking, class action lawsuits are legal actions brought on behalf of groups of people. Class action lawsuits differ from traditional lawsuits, which are typically filed by single individuals. However, there is much more to class action lawsuits than the number of parties involved. Below is an overview of class action lawsuits. For additional information, please contact a Florida class action attorney

Class Action Lawsuit Requirements

A class action lawsuit is a type of legal action that is filed on behalf of a class of people who all have similar claims against a defendant or group of defendants. Class action lawsuits are filed in court by class representatives or lead plaintiffs. After a class representative or lead plaintiff files a class action lawsuit, the court determines whether it will permit the matter to move ahead as a class action. There are several factors that a case must meet in order for it to move forward as a class action. These factors are: 

  • Numerosity, which means that there must be a large enough number of individual claims to make class certification the most effective manner to proceed;
  • Commonality, which means that the claims must be similar;
  • Typicality, which means that the class representatives’ claims must be typical of all other class members’ claims; and
  • Adequacy, which means that class representatives must be willing and able to represent the class in an effective manner. 

Settlement and Judgment 

Each class member in a class action lawsuit is bound by the terms of the class action settlement or judgment. If the lawsuit seeks monetary damages, all class members receive notice of the proceedings, a description of the lawsuit, and information on how to opt out of the lawsuit. Class members who opt out are ineligible to obtain financial recovery from the lawsuit. 

Relief

Most class action lawsuits seek to obtain financial relief for every class member. A class action lawsuit may also ask the court to define the obligations and rights of the class versus the defendant. This is called a declaratory judgment class action. In addition, class action lawsuits sometimes ask the court for injunctive relief. If a request for injunctive relief is successful, the court can order the defendant in the case to take certain actions or cease certain conduct.

Contact a Florida Class Action Attorney 

If you are interested in pursuing a class action lawsuit in Florida, you need an experienced Florida class action attorney on your side. Class action lawyer Seth Lehrman and his class action team have extensive investigative, litigation, and trial experience. Mr. Lehrman’s firm has the knowledge, experience, and resources required to effectively represent you in your class action lawsuit. For class action legal assistance, please contact our law firm today for a consultation.

Security lock, cyber security concept

When Can I Sue for Identity Theft?

Identity theft is the fraudulent acquisition and use of an individual’s personal information for financial gain. The unique information typically associated with i theft includes dates of birth, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, email addresses, fax numbers, bank account information, and credit card numbers. When a thief obtains any of this type of information, he or she can then use it to impersonate the individual whose information was stolen. Luckily, victims of identity theft may be entitled to financial compensation via an identity theft lawsuit. If you are a victim of identity theft, please contact a consumer class action attorney for assistance. 

Liability for Identity Theft

In addition to the thief, there are several entities that can be held liable for identity theft. Entities that can be held liable for identity theft include the major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian), credit institutions, and banks. There are several theories of liability that victims of identity theft can utilize to seek compensation for their losses, including breach of fiduciary duty and negligence. To demonstrate negligence, an identity theft victim must show that 

  • the defendant owed him or her a duty of care,
  • the defendant breached that duty of care,
  • the defendant’s breach resulted in damages. 

An identity theft victim may also be sued for breach of fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty exists when a party has a special relationship with another party, such as doctor-patient or attorney-client. Due to the nature of this relationship, the responsible party (the fiduciary) must take extra precautions regarding an individual’s personal information. If the fiduciary fails to protect this information, he or she may be held liable for any resulting losses. 

Additional theories of liability that may be available to identity theft victims include

  • invasion of privacy,
  • appropriation of a victim’s likeness or name, and
  • intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Financial Compensation for Identity Theft

There are several types of damages available to identity theft victims. Examples include compensatory damages (which compensate victims for monies lost as a result of identity theft), punitive damages (which are assessed to deter future wrongdoing), and equitable relief (which prohibits a defendant from performing some future act). 

Contact a Consumer Class Action Attorney Today! 

If you are a victim of identity theft, you need an experienced consumer class action attorney on your side. Identify theft is often the result of the negligence of businesses and other financial organizations that store or have access to your personal information. When an entity provides a party with unauthorized access to this information, whether intentionally or due to negligence, our attorneys will work hard to ensure that you are financially compensated for your loss. Our talented legal team has extensive litigation, investigative, and trial experience, which means that we understand what it takes to succeed in a consumer class action lawsuit. Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule a consultation.

Fingerprint security; identity theft.

Damages Available in Identity Theft Cases

Tens of millions of people have their identities stolen every year. In fact, nearly 15 million people were victims of identity theft in 2019. Of those identity theft victims who suffered unreimbursed expenses due to identity theft, the median loss was approximately $400. In other words, identity theft has a major impact on its victims, and those who suffer financial losses due to identity theft often must resort to legal action to recoup their losses. Luckily, the victims of identity theft may be entitled to damages, which are a form of financial compensation. Below is an overview of identity theft lawsuits, including the types of damages available in these cases. For additional information, please contact a consumer class action attorney as soon as possible. 

Liability for Identity Theft

Before you seek damages in an identity theft lawsuit, you must determine who is at fault for your losses. In a perfect world, you would bring a lawsuit against the person who stole your identity. However, identity thieves are often difficult to catch. Luckily, in cases where the thief can’t be located, there are other parties who may be held liable for your losses. Certain institutions are responsible for keeping your personal information, such as your Social Security number, private. When they fail to do so, they can be held responsible for your losses. Parties that can be held liable for identity theft include:

  • Banks and other financial institutions, 
  • Government entities,
  • Creditors, and
  • Employers.

Causes of Action for Identity Theft 

There are several causes of action for identity theft due to the various ways that an identity can be stolen. Examples of possible causes of action include:

  • Infliction of emotional distress,
  • Negligence,
  • Invasion of privacy,
  • Breach of fiduciary duty, and 
  • Breach of contract.

Damages for Identity Theft

Depending on the cause of action in your case, the extent of your loss, and the type of defendant, you may have several forms of compensation available in your case, including:

  • Compensatory damages,
  • Emotional damages,
  • Punitive damages, and 
  • Injunctive relief.

In order to determine what type of financial compensation you may be entitled to, you should contact a consumer class action attorney.

Contact a Consumer Class Action Attorney Today! 

If you have suffered losses due to identity theft, you need to contact an experienced consumer class action attorney as soon as possible. As noted above, identity theft is often the result of the negligence of financial organizations and other businesses that store or have access to your personal information. When an entity provides a party with unauthorized access to this information, our attorneys will work hard to hold it responsible for your financial losses. Our talented legal team has extensive investigative, litigation, and trial experience, which means that we understand what it takes to be successful in your consumer class action lawsuit. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

Woman on her phone, looking for signs of identity theft.

How to Recognize Identity Theft

Identity theft is a major problem in the United States. In fact, nearly 30 percent of all adults in the United States will fall victim to identity theft at some point in their lives. In other words, identity theft poses a serious threat to everyone. Luckily, there are steps you can take to both recognize and prevent identity theft. When you learn how to recognize identity theft early, you can drastically lessen the damage it causes to your financial situation. Below is an overview of how you can recognize and prevent identity theft.  

Signs of Identity Theft

The primary way to recognize identity theft is by reviewing your credit report. Your credit report contains all of your current credit account information, so anything you don’t recognize—such as a credit card you never applied for—is a sign that you may be a victim of identity theft. However, the signs of identity theft go beyond your credit report. Additional indications that you may be a victim of identity theft include: 

  • Failure to receive certain checks or bills,
  • Receipt of bills for items you didn’t order or statements for credit cards you don’t recognize,
  • Denial for credit cards or other loans despite a good credit history,
  • Unauthorized bank transactions,
  • Notice that your personally identifiable information was part of a data breach,
  • Denial of your electronic tax filing, and
  • Receipt of unauthorized authentication messages by email or text for unknown accounts.

Preventing Identity Theft 

Although no one is completely safe from identity theft, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of becoming an identity theft victim, including:  

  • Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet,
  • Monitor and protect your mail,
  • Shred bank statements and other important documents that you don’t plan to keep,
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi use,
  • Make sure your passwords are strong, and 
  • Don’t share personal information on social media.

Contact a Consumer Class Action Attorney Today! 

If you are a victim of identity theft, there are steps you can take to begin repairing your finances, one of which is contacting an experienced consumer class action attorney. Identity theft is often the result of the negligence of financial organizations and other businesses that store or have access to your private information. When one of these entities provides a third party with access to your financial information without your permission, our attorneys will work hard to ensure that they are held financially accountable for their actions. Our talented class action team has extensive investigative, litigation, and trial experience, which means that we have what it takes to effectively represent you in your consumer class action lawsuit. In addition, we have the experience and resources to stand up to major corporations and big businesses in court. Please contact us today to begin your journey to financial recovery. 

Woman on her phone looking through her secured accounts.

What Should I Do After My Identity Has Been Stolen?

Each year, tens of millions of people are victims of identity fraud. In fact, in 2019 alone, over 14 million people had their identities stolen. Nearly a quarter of these victims had unreimbursed expenses related to the fraud, with the median loss being approximately $400. If you are a victim of identify theft, there are several steps you must take to repair the damage. For additional guidance on this topic, please contact a consumer class action attorney as soon as possible. 

File a report with the Federal Trade Commission

If you believe your identity has been stolen, the first thing you should do is file a report with the Federal Trade Commission. Although the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t have the ability to pursue criminal charges, its information is often used by law enforcement agencies to track down perpetrators. In addition, after you’ve reported the fraud, you’ll receive a recovery plan and prefilled forms to use to file police reports and dispute fraudulent charges with the credit bureaus.

File a report with the police

The next thing you should do after having your identity stolen is to file a report with your local police department. Although your local police department may be of limited assistance if your identity was stolen by criminals online or overseas, it will be able to help you if the theft took place locally. 

Notify the IRS  

If your Social Security number was used to file an income tax return, you should report this to the IRS. This can be accomplished by submitting a Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit to the IRS. 

Follow up with the major credit bureaus

Identity theft often results in destroyed credit. Therefore, if your identity has been stolen, you should immediately contact the three major credit bureaus and request that a fraud alert be placed on your account. This alert will stay on your credit report for a year, and it lets any institution that pulls your credit report know that your identity may be compromised. 

Initiate a credit freeze and review your credit reports

You should also review your credit reports and consider initiating a credit freeze. When you check your credit reports, you should see if any accounts have been opened that you don’t recognize. And a credit freeze will prevent the credit bureaus from sharing your report with anyone who requests it. This will prevent lenders and other parties from accessing your reports before you’ve had a chance to sort them out. 

Contact a Consumer Class Action Attorney Today! 

Finally, if you are a victim of identity theft, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Often, identity theft occurs due to the negligence of financial organizations and other businesses that store or have access to your personal financial information. When a person or entity provides third parties access to your financial information without your permission, we will work to ensure that they are held financially accountable for their actions. Our class action team has extensive investigative, litigation and trial experience, which allows us to effectively represent you in your consumer class action lawsuit. In addition, we have the experience and resources to take on major corporations and big businesses in court. Please contact us today for a consultation.

An attorney helping a couple with their class action lawsuit.

Class Action Lawsuits: Answers to Common Questions

Many people have at least a passing familiarity with class action lawsuits, as they are frequently the topic of news stories, TV shows, and advertisements. However, most people’s understanding of class action lawsuits begins and ends with the idea that they are legal actions brought by groups of people instead of individuals. While this is correct, there is obviously much more to a class action lawsuit than the number of people involved. Below are answers to common questions people have about class action lawsuits. 

What are class action lawsuits?

A class action lawsuit is a legal action that is filed on behalf of a class of people who all have similar claims against a defendant or defendants. The case is filed in court by one or several class representatives or lead plaintiffs. After the case is filed, the court determines whether it’s appropriate to allow the matter to move forward as a class action. In order for the case to proceed as a class action, the following factors must be met: 

  • Numerosity – There must be enough individual claims to make class certification the most efficient way to proceed. 
  • Commonality – The claims must be sufficiently alike.
  • Typicality – The proposed class representatives’ claims must be typical of all class members’ claims.
  • Adequacy – The class representatives must be able and willing to represent the class fairly and effectively. 

How does a class action settlement or judgment affect the class?

Members of the class in a class action lawsuit are bound by the terms of the class action settlement or judgment. If the class action lawsuit is one that seeks monetary damages, the class members ordinarily receive notice of the proceedings, a description of the lawsuit, and instructions on how to opt-out. Those class members who opt out can not obtain any financial recovery from the lawsuit. 

What type of relief is possible in a class action lawsuit? 

The majority of class action lawsuits seek some kind of financial relief for each class member. A class action may also request that the court declare and define the obligations and rights of the class versus the defendant. This is known as a “declaratory judgment” class action. Also, a class action sometimes seeks what is called “injunctive relief.” In this type of case, if the class obtains a judgment or settlement, the court can order the defendant to cease certain conduct or to take a certain action.

Contact LehrmanClassAction.com Today to Discuss Your Claim

For your class action lawsuit needs in Florida, you should contact our Florida consumer class action lawyer. Florida class action attorney Seth Lehrman and his class action team have extensive investigative, litigation, and trial experience. Mr. Lehrman’s firm has the experience and resources to effectively represent you in your class actions lawsuit. If you need class action legal assistance, please contact our law firm today for a free consultation.

Woman receiving a robocall.

New Study Finds That Over 200 Million Robocalls Are Placed Each Day

Robocalls are out of control. In fact, a study recently found that over 200 million robocalls are placed each day. This is an astonishing figure. Robocalls can range from annoying to dangerous, and many people, unfortunately, accept them as an unavoidable part of life. However, there is hope for those affected by robocalls. In fact, the law provides the victims of robocalls with financial compensation under certain circumstances. So, if you’re a victim of unwanted robocalls, please review the information below, and contact a Florida TCPA attorney as soon as possible for assistance.   

Key findings from the study

In addition to the astronomical number of robocalls placed each day, the study made the following findings:

  • Nuisance calls (calls that are annoying but lack malicious intent), are increasing at a faster rate than high-risk calls (scams and/or fraudulent calls). 
  • Robocall hijacking of mobile numbers has doubled. Hijacking involves the illegal spoofing of a caller ID. 
  • Approximately one in 1,700 cell phone numbers are commandeered every month, which is more than double last year’s rate. 
  • Robocallers are increasingly moving from spoofing VoIP numbers to toll-free numbers.
  • More than eight in 10 calls from the top 10 toll-free numbers are either high-risk or nuisance calls.
  • Neighbor spoofing is increasing. Neighbor spoofing is the act of calling someone with a phone number similar to his or her own to increase the chances that he or she will answer. This tactic now accounts for approximately 25% of all robocalls. 
  • Snowshoe spamming is increasing. Snowshoe spamming occurs when a spammer spoof calls over several telephone numbers in low volume and rapidly moves through them to avoid detection by the authorities.  

What can you do about robocalls?

Not only are robocalls increasing in frequency, but scammers are becoming more sophisticated in their use of these calls. Luckily, you can fight back against unwanted robocalls. With a  Florida TCPA attorney on your side, not only will we help you combat these calls, but we may be able to help you obtain financial compensation  

You may be entitled to financial compensation

With the assistance of an experienced Florida TCPA lawyer, may be entitled to up to $1500 for each documented violation of the TCPA law. Unsolicited robocalls are not only annoying—they’re against the law. Debt collection calls, advertisements, fraudulent schemes to swindle consumers out of money, identity theft scams, and calls seeking personal information are just a few of the types of unwanted calls with which today’s consumers find themselves bombarded. If you are a victim of telemarketer harassment of any kind, Seth Lehrman is here to help. Attorney Seth Lehrman represents people who have received unwanted robocalls or texts in TCPA cases in Florida and nationwide. If you have received unsolicited calls from telemarketers or have been subjected to other harassing behavior by telemarketers, please contact our law firm for a free consultation.

Lehrmanclassaction.com discusses how you can take a lawsuit against Juul products.

Juul Lawsuits for People Who Have Been Injured by Juul Products

Juuling, which is a kind of vaping, is named after the popular Juul e-cigarette. This form of vaping makes up approximately 30 percent of the e-cigarette market. And although these types of e-cigarettes are intended to help adults quit smoking, teens are rapidly becoming hooked on them—and this has led to legal action against vape companies.

One such case was recently filed by a New York teen who argues that the company hooked him on flavored e-cigarettes through the use of deceptive advertising. The teen, who is now 19 and began Juuling at only 15 years old, claims to suffer from serious medical problems due to his addiction to Juul’s products. The suit, which is seeking class-action status, contends that the teen never smoked regular cigarettes but was attracted to vaping due to misleading advertising online and in local stores. He quickly became addicted to the company’s flavored pods and still uses them today.  

The suit alleges that the teen, based on JUUL’s advertisements, believed these products were safe and wouldn’t cause adverse health effects. In addition, the lawsuit contends that Juul fraudulently marketed its products to minors using themes including popularity, sexuality, social events, parties, and celebrity.

The lawsuit is one of over 150 such suits filed against Juul since 2018, and it comes amid growing backlash against vaping. In fact, many states have begun to ban flavored vaping liquids, including New York, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Public health officials have reported over a dozen vaping-related deaths nationwide and over 800 cases of breathing and lung illnesses that are believed to be related to e-cigarette use. Most troubling is the fact that many of the victims of Juuling and vaping are individuals under the age of 18 years old. In New York, for example, it is estimated that nearly 40 percent of high school seniors and 30 percent of overall high school students use vaping products.  

Are you suffering from health problems due to Juuling? 

If you are suffering from health problems due to Juuling or vaping, you need an experienced Florida class action attorney on your side. Our class action team has successfully prosecuted consumer class-action lawsuits against a variety of large corporations. In fact, we have secured judgments and settlements totaling more than $100 million for consumers and businesses. Our cases cover a range of illegal business practices, including illegal robocalls, unfair debt collection practices, consumer overcharges, defective and dangerous products, fraud and false advertising, breach of contract, mortgage fraud, and unfair business practices. Our class action team has the tools and experience necessary to effectively present our case and get you the results you deserve. Therefore, if you have been victimized by the vaping industry in any way, please contact our experienced class action attorneys today for a consultation. 

Lehrmanclassaction.com discusses how federal lawmakers seek to stop unwanted robocalls.

Federal Lawmakers Seek to Stop Unwanted Robocalls

Federal lawmakers recently introduced legislation intended to provide Americans with relief from unwanted robocalls. With the introduction of the Traced Act and the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, lawmakers have put telemarketers on notice regarding unwanted robocalls. The Traced Act addresses the use of spoofed calls with fake caller IDs, while the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act requires rules that are intended to prevent abusive and unwanted robocalls. 

Understanding the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act

Americans receive more than 4 billion robocalls every month, with the top sources of robocalls being creditors and debt collectors. The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act proposes relief to consumers by amending the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to require telemarketers to obtain consent prior to making calls. In addition, the Act requires telemarketers to cease calling consumers when requested. Under the current Telephone Consumer Protection Act, nonconsensual calls placed to cell phones made using an automated dialing system are prohibited. However, some telemarketers have argued that they are exempt from this law due to an argument over the definition of the term “autodialer,” which is an important part of the law’s language. This recent legislation is intended to address this issue and make clear that nonconsensual robocalls of any kind are unacceptable. 

Strongly opposed to these bills are the debt collectors and creditors who stand to benefit from the use of robocalls, some of whom are powerful and influential corporations. These organizations argue that consumers benefit from robocalls from telemarketers and debt collectors and that the proposed legislation is far too burdensome. 

By introducing these two strong bills, federal lawmakers have put telemarketers on notice that consumers are fed up with unwanted robocalls. However, it remains to be seen whether this legislation will ultimately be signed into law. In the meantime, all consumers affected by robocalls should take action to address this issue. And the best way to take action is to immediately contact a Florida TCPA attorney.

Contact our experienced Florida TCPA attorney today 

If you are a victim of unwanted robocalls, you need a Florida TCPA attorney on your side. With the assistance of an experienced Florida TCPA lawyer, you may be entitled to up to $1500 for each documented violation of the TCPA law. Unsolicited robocalls are not only annoying—they’re against the law. Debt collection calls, advertisements, fraudulent schemes to swindle consumers out of money, identity theft scams, and calls seeking personal information are just a few of the types of unwanted calls with which today’s consumers find themselves bombarded. If you are a victim of telemarketer harassment of any kind, Seth Lehrman is here to help. Attorney Seth Lehrman represents people who have received unwanted robocalls or texts in TCPA cases in Florida and nationwide. If you have received unsolicited calls from telemarketers or have been subjected to other harassing behavior by telemarketers, please contact our law firm for a free consultation.