On May 31, plaintiffs Jim Youngman and Robert Allen filed a motion for preliminary approval of class action settlement for their pending Telephone Consumer Protection Act action against Florida-based insurance company A&B Insurance and Financial Inc.  The case is Youngman v. A&B Insurance and Financial, Inc., No. 6:16-cv-01478-CEM-GJK (M.D. Fla. May 18, 2017).  

The action, filed in August of last year, alleged that A&B placed multiple telemarketing calls to telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry and made prerecorded telephone calls using an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”) in violation of the TCPA.  The amended complaint defined the class as all persons who were registered with the Do Not Call Registry and received a telemarketing phone call or who received any telephone calls to their cellular telephone numbers through the use of an ATDS or prerecorded voice message from August 18, 2012 through April 26, 2017. 

The proposed settlement provides for the establishment of a $4.25 million settlement fund to pay members of the nationwide class, including $10,000 to each named plaintiff, as well as $1.46 million in attorneys fees and $42,922 in expenses.  The proposed settlement also indicated that A&B has taken certain remedial measures since the filing of the action, including terminating its relationship with call centers that placed the alleged calls, requiring its call center vendors to scrub call lists against the Do Not Call Registries, and implementing steps to identify cellular telephone numbers.  Although the proposed settlement did not identify the number of class members, the plaintiffs stated that their expert identified 330,511 unique telephone numbers which may have a claim against A&B.  Counsel for the plaintiffs expect each qualifying class member to receive $85.00 from the settlement fund.  

In the motion for approval, A&B maintained that it was not liable for the actions of the call center vendors that violated the TCPA.  The plaintiffs also acknowledged the uncertain legal landscape surrounding TCPA litigation and the facts of this case which may have presented a significant obstacle to their recovery.  In lieu of engaging in protracted litigation over the contentious issues in this case, the parties agreed to settle this matter. 

Counsel for the plaintiffs are Edward Broderick and Anthony Paronich of Broderick & Paronich, P.C.; Matthew McCue of The Law Office of Matthew P. McCue; and Tim Howard of Howard & Associates, P.A.  Counsel for the defendants are Thomas Cargill and Michael D. Leffel of Foley & Lardner, LLP.