November 17, 2017

Payment Processing Company Settles TCPA Suit With $9 Million

Pivotal Payments Inc. is set to pay $9 million to resolve a putative class action suit resulting from a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In the case Abante Rooter and Plumbing v. Pivotal Payments Inc., the California federal court alleges that the account services and payment processing company auto-dialed cellphones without consent, which is a TCPA violation.

Abante Rooter and Plumbing Inc., based out of Emeryville, California, claims that EPLJ Enterprises LLC was hired by Pivotal to make millions of unsolicited phone calls. The calls, which advertised Pivotal’s credit card services, were made to cell phones using an automatic telephone dialer with a pre-recorded voice. According to court documents, EPLJ made 11.6 million auto-dialed calls to 1.9 million different cell phone numbers, and Abante Rooter and Plumbing is seeking $1,500 in damages for every alleged call.

Attorneys argue that the deal is fair and reasonable, proposing that the potential 1.9 million class members who submit claims receive a cash share of the settlement, estimating that members will receive up to $60. The motion states that “the settlement is favorable to class members because they will receive compensation for the telemarketing calls they received without the expense and delay of continued litigation — and avoid the risk of no compensation at all.”

Pivotal attempted to toss the suit in November 2016, but the motion was denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero. Spero found that Article III stands to allow the company to pursue its claims, and that the motion to strike allegations of the complaint was unwarranted by Pivotal. The settlement was reached in September.

As lead plaintiff, Abante Rooter and Plumbing is set to receive $25,000. The class counsel is asking for $2.25 million—equaling twenty-five percent of the settlement—as well as $52,914 in attorney’s fees to reimburse litigation expenses. The claims administrator will receive $1.2 million, and the remaining sum will be distributed among those class members who submit valid claim forms.