5 Insurers Face TCPA Class Action Lawsuit

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New York, NY: Five insurance companies are facing a class action lawsuit filed over alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Specifically, the lawsuit claims that the defendants, including American Automobile Association Inc. and Farmers Group Inc., Government Employees Insurance Co., Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., made illegal calls through Variable Marketing LLC.

In the lawsuit, entitled Shawn Matejovich, et al., v. American Automobile Association Inc., number 1:13-cv-07149 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the plaintiffs allege Variable Marketing LLC, working on behalf of the defendants, directs consumers to a specific insurance company based on predetermined factors and information gained from the consumer at the time of the call.

According to the complaint, Variable left a prerecorded message on Matejovich' cell phone in August concerning an opportunity to receive an automobile insurance quote. When Matejovich returned the call, he heard a prerecorded voice message informing him that "State Farm, Nationwide and Farmers are competing for your business, and you can save several hundred dollars on your car insurance."

"Matejovich remained on the line, and was eventually connected to a live operator. This operator did not disclose what organization or entity she worked for or represented. This operator took down personal information from Matejovich, such as his name, address, date of birth, type of vehicles owned and driving history,"the lawsuit states.

The operator told Matejovich that he could receive a quote from State Farm for his car insurance needs, and that he would be connected to a State Farm agent for that quote, the lawsuit states. Matejovich is not a current customers of State Farm or any of the other defendants, and had no pre-existing business relationship with any of the defendants prior to the call. The other individual plaintiffs in the class action have made similar allegations.

"Each of the insurance company defendants and their agents has contracted with Variable to employ an 'automatic telephone dialing system,' as defined by [the TCPA] to contact customers such as plaintiffs. At least some of those calls, such as all the calls to plaintiffs, are made to cellular telephones,"the complaint states. "Insurance company defendants and their agents have contracted with Variable to employ 'an artificial or prerecorded voice' as described in [the TCPA] to communicate with customers such as plaintiffs on their cellular telephone."

The proposed class is defined as: "All persons within the United States who received a nonemergency telephone call from Variable, placed while Variable was acting on behalf of the insurance company defendants, to a cellular telephone through the use of an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice."

The plaintiffs are represented by Jonathan D. Selbin, Douglas I. Cuthbertson and Daniel M. Hutchinson of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, Matthew R. Wilson and Michael J. Boyle Jr. of Meyer Wilson Co. LPA and Daniel J. Marovitch of Marovitch Law Firm LLC.

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