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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.