Texan woman awarded $230,000 for having to deal with 153 robocalls from a cable company
A Texas woman was awarded nearly $230,000 by a federal judge after a cable company crossed its limits when it harassed her with 153 robocalls despite complaining about the wrong numbers.
On Tuesday, Alvin Hellerstein, U.S. District Judge in Manhattan ordered Time Warner Cable Inc. to make the payment of $229,500 to Araceli King of Irving, Texas, quoting the New York-based company’s “particularly egregious” behavior as it did not comply with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.
King said she had constantly asked the company to stop making the calls; however, they did not acknowledge it following which she sued them last year.
Susan Leepson, a Time Warner spokeswoman, said the company is formally assessing its options and ascertaining how to proceed.
Hellerstein said he tripled the $1,500 penalty for each call because Time Warner’s actions were “particularly egregious”, as it persisted in making the calls even after King complained in a seven-minute phone conversation with a company representative in October 2013 that the calls to her phone were likely meant for a customer she did not know. The judge pointed out that 74 of the calls were made after Time Warner was presented with a copy of King’s lawsuit in March 2014.
The judge said that the legal arguments in the company’s “recurring theme” was that it was an unintentional victim of an unpredictable federal law that was not meant on purpose to turn an offensive call to a wrong number into large damages.
“The responsible company will reduce its exposure dramatically by taking proactive steps to mitigate damages, while its competitor, who unthinkingly robo-dials the same person hundreds of time over many months without pausing to wonder why it cannot reach him, cannot complain about much higher liability,” the judge wrote.
Sergei Lemberg, King’s lawyer said his client is very happy. When robocalls don’t stop, this decision sends a message to consumers to “stop taking it on the chin” along with a message to companies that it is important to pay attention to human beings, even when technology has the habit of making repeated calls, he said.
The Stamford, Connecticut, attorney said “Millions of U.S. consumers get robocalls. Only a few of them take it a step forward and get a lawyer.”