A District Court judge in New York has affirmed rulings from both an arbitrator and a Magistrate Judge and awarded a plaintiff who received 466 collection calls from the defendant without providing her expressed consent $232,500 in damages.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Salerno v. Credit One Bank can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff claimed to have never provided her number to the defendant and the calls were attempts by the defendant to collect debts from her boyfriend. The plaintiff filed suit and the defendant moved to compel arbitration, which a judge granted. An arbitrator determined that the defendant had violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and awarded the plaintiff the statutory limit of $500 per call for each of the 466 calls, a total of $233,000. The defendant requested another arbitration panel, which determined there were 465 calls that violated the TCPA and changed the award to $232,500. The defendant then tried to have the award vacated, but a Magistrate judge denied the motion. The defendant objected to the denial, arguing that the Magistrate judge made a mistake by not concluding that the second arbitration panel had not “manifestly disregarded controlling Second Circuit law.” A District Court judge reviewed the objection and denied it.
The District Court judge did deny a request from the plaintiff for pre-judgment interest, largely because the amount of the damages was already fundamentally punitive. The judge also denied a request from the defendant to seal the records on this case.
According to a published report, the amount of the damages awarded in this case is thought to be the largest ever for Western New York since the TCPA was enacted in 1991.