I hate to dwell on the negative, especially this time of year, but here’s a quick story that’s more of a egg than nog.
For years, I have deplored the terrible rule allowing personal liability in TCPA class actions. It doesn’t matter whether employees take action on behalf of their employer – if they are directly involved in a company violating the TCPA, many courts will allow them to be personally prosecuted for it. And it’s just disgusting.
Even Bigger (IMO) is when class attorneys add management-level employees to class actions in a transparent move to leverage the settlement.
Consider the case of Zoppi v. Proform Trading, LLC, Civ. Action n ° 21-2307 (CCC) (JSA), 2021 US Dist. LEXIS 236306 (DNJ December 9, 2021).
The case apparently stems from a single pre-recorded call received in January 2021. Within 15 days, the plaintiff had filed a class action lawsuit against the alleged sender of the call.
After arguing the case for seven months, the plaintiff decided that it would be a good idea not to just sue the company but to include a director and general manager – a certain Nathan Allred – “as an individual defendant and himself. impose individual liability in accordance with the TCPA.
Well, that’s not very nice.
The defendant opposed the motion, but the court allowed the amendment last week so that Mr Allred could be prosecuted personally. Determining that the proposed amendment was not “frivolous”, the Court concluded that Allred could be personally liable because the plaintiff alleged that he had “personally recorded and made the prerecorded voice call violating the TCPA on the applicant’s cell phone in violation of the TCPA ”.
NO Christmas spirit in TCPAWorld, apparently.
So there you have it, if you are a vocal talent working for a company and allow yourself to be recorded, or if you make a call that is a violation of the TCPA, you can be personally prosecuted.
What I find interesting, however, is that the ruling does not discuss whether Allred was involved in the appeals to all of the group members. If not, the class component of the case could be severely damaged by the addition of Allred to the claim. But I’ll keep an eye on the case and see where it goes.
For now, however, the lesson is clear: Businesses need to take TCPA compliance very seriously. For their own good and for the good of their employees this holiday season.