Santa Clara, CA: A $4 million settlement has been agreed in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action lawsuit pending against Verizon Wireless LLC. The lawsuit, filed in 2012 by named plaintiff John Lofton, alleged the wireless carrier hired a debt collector that made robocalls to people who were never Verizon subscribers, according to documents.
According to the terms of the settlement deal, Verizon would create a general settlement fund from which claims would be paid out. Valid claims would include people who received robocalls from Collecto on behalf of Verizon on their cell phones and who were not currently or previously Verizon subscribers.
The settlement proposes two classes, one to include California residents with claims under the state's Invasion of Privacy Act, which could number nearly 2,700, and a national TCPA class, which could number nearly 240,000, according to court documents.
The classes do not encompass any people who received robocalls on behalf of Verizon by a contractor other than Collecto. Further, the settlement does not release any claims against Collecto itself, which is a defendant in currently pending TCPA multidistrict litigation.
Lofton, who was not a Verizon customer, alleged in his suit to have been tracked down by a debt collector via skip-tracing, which involves buying location data on consumers from tracking services. He further alleged Verizon was vicariously liable for Collecto's recordings because in certain scenarios its call-monitoring disclosure policy instructs vendors not to disclose that the conversations are being captured.
The settlement deal must receive final court approval. The case is Lofton v. Verizon Wireless LLC, case number 4:13-cv-05665, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.