Parties to a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania have asked for final approval of a $4 million proposed Telephone Consumer Protection Act settlement in a “wrong number” case.  Plaintiff Robert Ward alleged that defendant Flagship Credit Acceptance, LLC called him in violation of the TCPA, as he is not a Flagship customer.  The proposed settlement requires Flagship to establish a settlement fund of $4 million to fund the terms of the parties’ proposed settlement agreement, including (1) payment of all claims; (2) all administrative, notice, and claims expenses; (3) an incentive award to the class representatives; and (4) a $1.3 million award for attorneys’ fees. 

Ward filed his class complaint on May 5, 2017, alleging a TCPA violation against Flagship.  Though they disagreed over whether Flagship had consent to call Ward or the putative class members, the parties presented a preliminary settlement agreement to the Court a little over a year after the filing of the complaint.  Though Ward himself asserted a wrong number claim, the class was collectively defined as “all persons whom Flagship called on their cellular telephone through the use of any version of TCN, a LiveVox or Aspect dialing system, and/or with an artificial or prerecorded voice at any time from May 5, 2013 to the date of preliminary approval.”  The Court issued its preliminary approval on September 18, 2018. 

From a class of approximately 330,000, the Settlement Administrator received 118,924 claims forms, narrowed further to 57,318 that were identified as valid and non-duplicative.  Each of these class members are slated to receive $43.40 from the Settlement Fund.  The parties report that there have only been four requests to opt out of the settlement. 

While “wrong number” class claims continue to be brought and settled, at least one federal court has recently rejected the certifiability of wrong number TCPA classes in principle.