June 4, 2014

TCPA Strikes Again: LA Clippers Settle $5 Million Suit over ‘Unsolicited Text Messages’

In a case reminiscent of last month’s news that the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise settled a $3 million class action suit stemming from a fan receiving three too many text messages over a two-week period, the Los Angeles Clippers have announced a $5 million suit under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

“The February 2013 suit claimed that named plaintiff Ari Friedman got spam text messages after attending a Clippers game at the Staples Center,” reports Law360’s Michael Lipkin. “During the game Friedman alleged he learned that fans could send messages to the Clippers’ scoreboard by texting a designated number. But the announcement did not disclose that fans’ numbers would be stored and used to advertise promotions, the complaint said.”

Settling class members, “will choose between either two tickets to a home game in October, or one ticket and a $20 credit for Clippers’ merchandise,” while the plaintiffs attorneys will receive $600,000. The Clippers also agreed, “not to send text messages without express consent for two years.”

In the Buffalo Bills case, the lead plaintiff claimed that the Bills promised to send him a maximum of five text messages per week, but the plaintiff says he received 13 messages over a two-week period. In that settlement, the team agreed to provide $2.4 million worth of debit cards to redeem Bills merchandise, ranging from $57 to $75 each, to anyone who had signed up to the text message service. The lead plaintiff received $5,000, while the plaintiff’s attorneys received $562,500.

While the impetus for the two lawsuits differ, the settlements are similar in that the alleged victims are effectively receiving coupons, while the plaintiffs’ attorneys are walking away with more than a half-million dollars.

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