A District Court judge in Florida has denied a defendant’s attempt to set aside a jury’s award of $225,000 in punitive and emotional damages that were awarded to a plaintiff in a Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act case because the defendant continued to contact the plaintiff after being notified that she was represented by an attorney.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Medley v. DISH Network can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff signed up for satellite TV service from the defendant, but became unable to pay the bill, so she entered into a “pause” program that allowed her to suspend her service for up to nine months at a cost of $5 per month without the service being terminated. The plaintiff filed for bankruptcy protection, listed the defendant as an unsecured creditor, and obtained a discharge. The plaintiff’s lawyer sent two faxes (this was back in 2014) to the defendant, notifying the defendant that the plaintiff was represented by counsel. The defendant sent five billing notifications to the plaintiff and made six calls, attempting to collect on the $5 monthly payment.
The defendant’s argument is that it didn’t know the plaintiff was represented by an attorney in reference to the $5 pause payment that was due.
Re-evaluating the facts and testimony that were introduced at trial — such as the fact that the defendant did not train its representatives on the FCCPA — Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell of the District Court for the Middle District of Florida was unpersuaded by the defendant’s arguments that the punitive damages award should be set aside.