$5M TCPA Class Action Suit Filed Against Publix Supermarkets

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Tampa, FL: Publix Supermarkets are facing a robocalls class action lawsuit alleging the company has violated the Telephone Consumer protection Act (TCPA). Specifically, the lawsuit, filed by plaintiff Eric Snover, claims the company made numerous autodialed phone calls telling him to pick up a prescription when he had never used Publix' pharmacy services.

In the complaint, Snover contends he received 13 calls made my robodialers, all of which had a recorded voice telling him that his prescription was ready for pick up at a Destin, Florida, Publix store. However, Snover claims that he doesn't live in that town, that he has never used a Publix pharmacy, and he has never given the grocery chain his cellphone number.

Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the recording provides no opportunity to opt out of the robocalls or to ask Publix to stop calling them.

Wishing to end the unsolicited calls, Snover contacted Publix three times, according to the lawsuit, each time an employee assured him that the calls would stop. However, the calls continued until November 2014, the complaint states.

In store pharmacies are present in nearly 80 percent of Publix's 1,100 stores in the South and comprise a principal part of its business, the complaint states. "In an effort to increase their bottom line and garner market share in the pharmacy services industry, defendant engaged in a systemic marketing campaign involving artificial or prerecorded voice calls ... to consumers' cellular telephones to inform them that prescriptions were ready for pickup,"the lawsuit states.

"However, defendant didn't obtain written express consent for those prescription service-related calls."Instead, Publix queried its database of cellphone numbers for consumers who may have previously filled prescriptions at its pharmacies and used an autodialer to call them, the lawsuit states.

Many of these consumers don't use Publix's prescription services and did not have any prescriptions to pick up a Publix pharmacy, Snover contends. "As a result, many consumers were automatically opted in to Publix' autodial program, resulting in an obligation to affirmatively opt out in order to avoid repeated, unsolicited autodialed calls."Snover claims that Publix ignored requests by consumers to stop the allegedly illicit calls.

Snover seeks to represent a national class of consumers whom Publix used an autodialer to call their cellphones about a pharmacy service since October 2011, according to the complaint.

Each member of the proposed class would be entitled to $500 for every negligently placed call or $1,500 for each call placed in knowing violation of the TCPA, Snover said. His suit also seeks injunctive relief.

Snover is represented by Jonathan Betten Cohen of Morgan & Morgan PA. The case is Snover v. Publix Super Markets Inc., case number 8:15-cv-02434, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

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