A District Court judge in Massachusetts has granted a settlement in a class-action case after a plaintiff accused a defendant of making more than two debt collection calls in a seven-day period, in violation of Massachusetts state law.
A copy of the settlement in the case of Carlson v. Target Enterprise Inc., can be accessed by clicking here.
The defendant has agreed to pay $2.275 million to settle the lawsuit, which was reached after a mediation session. The class included any individual who lived in Massachusetts and received more than two calls during a seven-day period regarding an unpaid debt that was owed to Target. The plaintiff’s lawyers had been seeking to receive one-third of the total settlement amount, but the judge lowered their fees to 23% of the settlement amount, given the “lack of complexity” in the case, according to Judge Timothy Hillman of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
The named plaintiff is scheduled to receive $7,500 for her participation in the suit, while the remaining balance will be split among the other members of the class. Class members will receive, on average, about $300 each.
There was some back and forth between the plaintiffs and the defendant over whether to litigate this case in state court, as the plaintiffs wanted, or federal court, which was the defendant’s preference. The plaintiff tried to have the First Circuit Court of Appeals weigh in on its argument to have the case tried in state court, but the petition to appeal was denied.
The defendant attempted to argue that it never actually reached the plaintiff. It attempted 16 calls during an 18-day span, a representative of the defendant said, but 10 calls were picked up by an answering machine or voicemail, two calls reached dead air, one call was not answered in any form, and three times, someone picked up but said the plaintiff was not available.