On August 10, Massachusetts District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns granted preliminary approval of a $3.2 million class settlement agreement in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act class action filed against Collecto, Inc.  The four named plaintiffs allege that Collecto made unauthorized telephone calls to class members’ cellular phones using an automated telephone dialing system in an attempt to collect on debts the class members did not owe.  The case is In re Collecto, Inc. Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Litigation, 1:14-md-2513-RGS (D. Mass.). 

The action was originally filed as three separate class actions in 2013 and 2014.  The matters were subsequently consolidated and transferred to the District of Massachusetts by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in 2014. 

The preliminary agreement calls for the 206,000 class members to receive a pro rata share of the $3.2 million settlement fund, with deductions of $1.3 million for attorneys fees, $30,000 in incentive awards for the class representatives, and an as-of-yet unknown amount for settlement administration costs.  Plaintiffs’ counsel stated in their memorandum in support of the motion for preliminary approval that they expect each class member to receive around $40.00 per telephone call. Any uncollected funds will be awarded to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a national non-profit consumer education and advocacy organization. 

Judge Stearns found the settlement agreement “sufficiently fair, reasonable, and adequate,” and the settlement class satisfied the numerosity, commonality, typicality, adequacy of representation, predominance, and superiority requirements of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  After appointing David C. Parisi and J. Andrew Meyer of Morgan & Morgan as class counsel, the Court ordered the settlement administrator, Ilym Group, Inc., to send notices to class members by September 11.  

A final approval hearing is currently set for January 17, 2018.