CVS, the nationwide chain of drugstore has agreed to a robocall settlement which amounts to $15 million in a class action which was filed in the year 2014 against the company. The filing prosecutor has asked the federal judge to begin the process of approval as soon as possible on their offer in place of just enduring the risks that might come with an extended period of TCPA litigation.
The settlement of robocall on the part of CVS is completely based upon the allegations against the drug store. It has been found that the chain of drug store used to intentionally use an ATDS or automated telephone dialing system. According to the allegations, CVS called around 233,079 customers for giving them the reminder for getting the annual shot of influenza. Not only that but according to the prosecutor, CVS purposely implemented their opportunity of advertising about their special perks, gift cards and discounts. The accuser against CVS wants to go after the settlement which will amount to about $35 for each of the class member. This will also cover the cost of fees, counsel and the incentive awards. It also comes with another alternative result which is to risk out the case regarding TCPA or Telephone Consumer Protection Act. It will start in trial within next year approximately. In case of any further purposeful delay on the part of the legal appeals, it could result in nil benefits for all the class members.
The three theories regarding potential liability
The accuser asserted three theories for potential liability. Firstly, the accuser complained that CVS was a failure in obtaining any prior consent from the consumers just before opting for the automated calls. Secondly, the accuser claimed that the consumers who reassigned their phone numbers to some other person who did not provide any consent, they were also being called by the drugstore chain. Thirdly, according to the accuser, even if the consumers gave overall consent regarding medical communications, the consent was not given for preaching out their promotional offers that also included various prerecorded messages.
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Defenses from CVS
CVS attempted for various defenses against the allegations. The drugstore chain said that the flu shot reminders in their calls fall under the emergency category of TCPA. It is their duty to remind their consumers for the emergency medical shots. CVS also went on asserting that all the calls that were made to the reassigned numbers were completely legal as they were only trying to reach out to their customers.
CVS goes on with denying to doing something wrong
The overall settlement of $15 million on the part of TCPA has allowed CVS to deny all its wrong moves. CVS has also been accused of violating both the state and federal law that includes TCPA and Telephone Automatic Dialers Act. The prosecutor also indicated to the Law360 that the case against CVS might face some serious challenges if it goes for trial. The challenges also include the class members ending up with nothing as damage award. The case also came with various worries that include CVS alleging that all the phone calls were made to all those customers who provided their contact numbers while they came to the store. Thus, the customers gave the drugstore chain enough permission to contact them legally.
The history of TCPA allegations
The accusers, Carl Lowe and Kearby Kaiser filed the lawsuit against CVS class action in the year 2014. The month of filing the lawsuit was May. The first meet between both the parties was after a time period of 18 months in November 2015. Another final attempt for the meeting was made last September. However, it went in vain.
In case the settlement offer which has been sent out by CVS is approved, about one-third of the overall recovered funds is meant to be distributed among the counsels who were associated with the case along with repayment of any kind of out of the pocket expenses which are related to the case. Kearby Kaiser, who is also the class representative, will receive an award of incentive which will amount to $15,000. After the payments have been received by all the class members, the remaining amount will be sent out for covering the other costs of administration. This overall settlement is an evident reminder that TCPA still remains as a very potent weapon.
TCPA Class Action Lawsuit: CVS agrees to give a settlement of $15M to Robocall
The renowned and famous drugstore chain, known all over the nation, CVS has agreed to provide Robocall with $15M settlement money, as a result of class action lawsuit that had been filed by Robocall against CVS in the year 2014. The plaintiffs who had filed this lawsuit have urged a federal judge from the state of Illinois to initiate the process relating to the approval of this settlement agreement and offer, rather than risking the chance of having to endure a litigation period that is further extended.
The allegations that Robocall had made against CVS, on behalf of which this settlement has finally been reached, is that the drug store giants had voluntarily contacted as many as 233,079 consumers, using an auto dialer, also known as an automated telephone dialing system or ATDS, to convince and remind them of getting the annual shot for influenza. Apart from just the reminder, this call also included marketing strategies, whereby the customers where coaxed into going for these said shots owing to the various perks, gift cards and discounts that CVS was willing to offer.
The complainants have all agreed to pursue this settlement deal brought into the foray by Robocall, which will fetch each of them an approximate amount of $35, after deducting the miscellaneous fees, cost for counsel and awards for incentive. The other option that these complainants have is to wait for the case that has been registered in account of the TCPA, also known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, upon the same issue, which would still take almost another year to proceed to trial. More delays that will definitely be caused as a result of the legal appeals and processes that have been initiated purposefully by CVS might result in the Class Members reaping zero benefits out of the lawsuit.
CVS still claims that they have not done anything wrong
The most shocking aspect of this case is the fact that CVS is still denying any kind of wrong and unethical actions taken from their end. As per the terms of the TCPA settlement of $15million, CVS is legally entitled to deny any kind of wrongdoing if they so choose. The violations and accusations that the allegation carries with it position the drug store chain to be guilty in the eyes of both the federal and state laws of the country-, which correspond to the TCPA and the Telephone Automatic Telephone Dialers Act of Illinois. The main tenet of this accusation involves that unsolicited calls were made to consumers using the ATDS system and these robocalls had prerecorded messages that were conveyed to the recipient customers.
It has also been indicated by the plaintiffs that if this case were ever to go to trial a number of serious challenges will be thrown its way, whereby the Class Members might end up not receiving any damage award as per the Law360. Amongst the challenges that this case faced, if it were to ever go to trial, was the stance that CVS had been constantly staying firm with, that these phone calls that were made to customers, included people who had willingly shared their phone numbers with the company and thereby had become voluntary consumers of the store who had given the permission of being contacted by CVS.
The history of mediation involved in the case
Carl Lowe and Kearby Kaiser were the two plaintiffs who had filed the lawsuit against CVS as a class action lawsuit, back in the year 2014 in the month of May. The very first mediation, which had occurred between both the parties, took place almost one and a half years later in the month of November 2015. The final effort at initiating mediation once again was done in September, but it proved to be a futile attempt.
If the settlement amount that CVS pharmacy has agreed to pay gets approved, a rough section of about one-third of the entire settlement money will we used to cover the payments of the associated counsels who were involved with the entire case. It will also reimburse any expenses that were made on a personal basis or were out-of-pocket and upfront in nature. Kaiser, who is the class representative, is entitled to get an incentive award that amounts to $15,000. When all of the Class Members have been duly paid their shares, the rest of the money will be spent towards the administrative costs, which were levied as part of the case.
The case number for the CVS class action lawsuit is Case No.1:14-cv-03687, which had taken place in US District Court that looks after the Northern District of Illinois. The name of this lawsuit filed against CVS pharmacy is known as the Lowe et al. v. CVS Pharmacy Inc. et al.
Opt for a free investigation related to TCPA Class Action Lawsuits
In the case that you have been contacted with a prerecorded voice message (also known as a robocall) or a text message that was unsolicited (also known as a text spam), by any company, you might be eligible to file a class action lawsuit and claim compensation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Contact Shamis & Gentile, P.A. to get the highest standard of professional help and file a robust class action lawsuit if such a situation has happened with you.