A federal judge in Alabama has approved a putative class-action settlement in the amount of $1.15 million against Compass Bank to resolve a case brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) on behalf of non-customers who received unsolicited auto-dialer survey calls from the bank.
The case, Robert Hossfield, and all others similarly situated, vs. Compass Bank, was filed in 2016. Id., No, 2:16-CV-02017 (N.D. Ala. 2016). The Complaint alleged that Compass Bank placed unsolicited telemarketing calls to “randomly selected” persons of the public, many of which never had a relationship with the bank. It further alleged that the class representative, Mr. Hossfield, received auto-dialer calls after requesting that he be placed on the “Do Not Call” list.
The settled class includes “all non-customers of Compass Bank” whose cell phones Compass Bank had an outside vendor call for survey purposes “through use of a VOXCO dialer in predictive mode, where the call was made on or after December 14, 2012, until February 8, 2019.” In the Order approving the settlement and dismissing the case with prejudice, U.S. District Judge Annemarie Carney Axon, found that the class members were adequately represented by the class representative and class counsel, and that “the relief provided is adequate considering the costs, risks, and delay of trial and appeal . . . .”
In 2017, Judge Axon rejected an attempt by Compass Bank to dismiss the case due to lack of Article III standing following the Supreme Court decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540 (2016) (holding that a statutory violation must be sufficiently particularized and concrete to establish Article III standing). In denying Compass Bank’s Motion to Dismiss, Judge Axon found that the class representative’s allegations of receiving two unsolicited phone calls to his personal cell phone were sufficiently particularized based on post-Spokeo case law.
In approving the settlement, the court also awarded class counsel attorney’s fees in the amount of $383,333.33, costs of $34,221.40, and $15,000 as an incentive payment for the class representative. Class members who submit a timely claim affirming that they were not customers of Compass Bank and did not consent to the calls will receive a pro rata share of the settlement, with remaining funds to be distributed to legal aid services.
Troutman Sanders will continue to monitor and report on noteworthy settlements and other case outcomes involving the TCPA.