Legal Staff Writer
On Monday, June 5, 2017, U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough hit Dish Network LLC (“Dish”) with $280 million in penalties to be paid to the U.S. Government and four separate states for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) along with various state statutes.
In a 475-page opinion, Judge Myerscough ordered Dish to pay $168 million in civil penalties to the U.S. for violating the Federal Trade Commission’s Telephone Sales Rule. The remainder of the sum will be paid to California, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio for civil penalties incurred by violating the TCPA and state statutes. In addition to paying a staggering $280 million in penalties, Dish will be also be undergoing strict compliance monitoring for the time being.
According to Judge Myerscough, “The plaintiffs have established that Dish, its telemarketing vendors, and its order entry retailers violated the applicable do-not-call laws millions and millions of times.”
Judge Myerscough also received a letter from the Justice Department back in January 2017 highlighting the close relationship that Dish maintained with its other retailers as proven in Krakauer v. Dish Network. This was another case involving Dish’s violations of the do-not-call list wherein the jury determined that a third-party telemarketing firm was acting as an agent of Dish Network when making unwarranted calls to consumers, carrying out “the will of the company.” Dish was found liable in that case as well. However, a spokesperson for Dish, John Hall, believes that Dish is now being unjustly punished for “telemarketing activities conducted by independent third-parties.”
Hall also stated that the $280 million in penalties that Dish must pay are disproportionate to its offenses and stray from precedent. Hall mentions previous outcomes concerning TCPA violations, such as those concerning DirecTV, Comcast and Caribbean Cruise Lines, where the penalties for those companies were substantially lower. The Dish spokesperson refers to Judge Myerscough’s decision as “radically and unjustly [exceeding], by orders of magnitude” those found in previous verdicts.
Dish “respectfully disagrees” with the decision and plans to appeal.
The case is U.S. et al. v. Dish Network LLC, case number 3:09-cv-03073, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois.
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