Georgia Supreme Court Agrees With Junk Fax Class Action
In a case that could lead to a $459 million judgment over junk faxes, Georgia’s Supreme Court has recently ruled in favor of a firm that filed the instigating class-action lawsuit. Fastsigns, a company located in Norcross, GA, received a junk fax from American Home Services, which altogether sent out some 306,000 unsolicited faxes of advertisements to companies throughout the Atlanta metro area. Fastsigns filed the suit accusing violation of federal consumer laws.In 2002 and 2003, American Home Services was trying to build up its siding, window, and gutter installation business, hiring a Texas company to send out hundreds of thousands of unsolicited “junk faxes” to Georgia businesses. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled unanimously against American Home Services, which is now potentially facing a massive settlement fee. The central issue in the ruling was whether American Home Services was accountable for junk faxes received during the solicitation, or for the entire extent of the faxes sent out.An attorney for Fastsigns cited the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) of 1991, enacted to penalize companies that backed up companies’ and individuals’ fax machines with unsolicited advertising. The TCPA restricts telephone solicitations, the use of automated telephone equipment, and unsolicited advertisements. Specifically, the TCPA limits the use of automatic dialing systems, prerecorded voice messages, unsolicited text messages, and junk faxes.The Defendant’s lawyer argued that only six recipients of the company’s junk faxes had been identified, but, Justice Robert Benham, writing for the court, said the consumer protection law is explicit: “A sender is liable for the unsolicited advertisements it attempts to send to fax machines, whether or not the transmission is completed or received by the targeted recipient.”This case has been sent back to the Court of Appeals for consideration of related claims. A lower court, in Fulton County, had ruled previously that American Home Services violated the consumer protection law, and issued a judgment of $1,500 for each of the 306,000 faxes sent, totaling $459 million. Speaking through its attorney, Celeste McCollough, American Home Services responded that there are compelling reasons for overturning the $459 million judgment, particularly that with only six junk fax targets identified, the penalty is too heavy. These grievances will be pursued in appeals court. On the Plaintiff’s side, Fastsigns attorney has noted that the state Supreme Court’s ruling was not unexpected, as other courts have issued similar opinions.So, what should you do when you get a junk fax? Contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for a free consultation. We will aggressively enforce the law to stop unsolicited advertisements. Not only will we stop junk faxes, but you may be entitled to money damages, too. Damages in TCPA cases range from $500.00 – $1,500.00 per junk fax. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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