St. Louis Federal Judge Awards $32.4 Million in Robocall Lawsuit
A St. Louis County couple, along with 3.2 million other people, were awarded $32.4 million by a St. Louis federal judge.
In 2012, Ron and Dorit Golan received two calls that went to voicemail, even though they are on the Do Not Call registry. The calls were to promote the movie, “Last Ounce of Courage” and more than 3.2 million people also received the call, even though they hadn’t given consent.
The Golan couple decided to sue and came to represent the call of call recipients.
During a trial last month, Webber ruled that Gabriel Joseph III and his affiliated companies had violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, but didn’t rule on damages.
Later, a jury ruled in favor of James Leininger, a billionaire who had invested $10 million into the movie’s marketing. Part of Leininger’s investment went to fund the robocall campaign, but the jury found that he did not have control over the campaign, and therefor not held liable.
Former presidential candidate and Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, was the voice for the robocall campaign. He testified during the trial that he did not discuss the campaign with Leininger. Huckabee was quickly dismissed from the suit.
Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Judge Webber could have awarded $1.6 billion, or $500 per call but wrote, “the amount of damages prescribed by the statute are so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportionate to the offense and obviously unreasonable.”
He also said that his ruling of $32 million, or $10 per call, “reflects the severity of the offense.”
The Golan couple’s lawyer, Kevin Carnie Jr., stated that Webber did not have the discretion to reduce the $500 per call award.
He also said that the plaintiffs would appeal Webber’s reduction of the $500 per call penalty in the TCPA and jury instructions during the trial regarding Leininger’s role in the campaign.