TCPA Class Action “Pick-off” Move Denied

A federal court in Connecticut recently rejected Frontier Communication Corp.’s attempt to avoid class liability by “picking-off” the named plaintiff in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act class action.

The plaintiff in the case, Diana Mey, filed the complaint alleging that, in violation of the TCPA, she received numerous solicitation calls on behalf of Frontier, despite the fact that her cellular telephone number is listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. The DNC Registry allows consumers to enter their telephone numbers on a federal database and effectively opt-out of receiving telemarketing calls.

Ms. Mey filed the case on behalf of herself and all others who received similar, unlawful calls from Frontier within the last four years. In an effort to cut off class liability, Frontier tried to “pick-off” Ms. Mey’s claims. In class actions, a “pick-off” refers to a defendant’s attempt to buy-off the lead plaintiff by offering her money to abandon the suit.

Ms. Mey rejected Frontier’s offer. Nonetheless, Frontier moved to dismiss the case, contending that her rejection of their offer rendered her claims moot.  The district court rejected Frontier’s argument, holding that “a mere offer to settle . . . does not moot a plaintiff’s claim even when it proposes to afford her everything she is asking for.”

Ms. Mey is represented by John W. Barrett and Jonathan R. Marshall, consumer class action attorneys with Bailey & Glasser’s Charleston, West Virginia and Boston, Massachusetts offices. Co-counsel include Matthew P. McCue, Edward A. Broderick, and Anthony Paronich from Massachusetts.

The case is Mey v. Frontier Communication Corp., No. 3:13-CV-01191-MPS (D. Conn.)

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