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Cruise Company Attempts To Avoid $76M Settlement Payout in TCPA Suit

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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On Friday, May 19, 2018, attorneys for a class of plaintiffs suing Caribbean Cruise Line Inc. (“Caribbean Cruise”) told U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly that the company was failing to abide by previously agreed upon settlement terms in an effort to avoid paying the $76 million maximum cap on the settlement. Caribbean Cruise has objected to 75% of the claims formerly approved by the settlement administrator.

The suit claimed that telemarketers employed by Caribbean Cruise spent a year calling people to offer a free cruise if they were to participate in a political survey. Telemarketers admitted to making about 50 million calls, but according to the company’s records there were only two million calls officially documented. Because of this discrepancy, the settlement administrator based the settlement award on a “three-call assumption,” meaning the parties agreed that phone numbers identified as having received at least one call would automatically have an eligible claim for three calls.

However, Caribbean Cruise now objects to all 45,000 claimants who fall under the three-call rule because it would presumably propel the required payout closer toward the $76 million maximum. The company was given the opportunity to challenge the three-call rule in instances where it had contrary evidence. The class is asking the judge to reject the company’s request for the 45,000 class members to provide further information to support the three-call assumption, stating “there is no basis for the challenge, so there should be no notice.”

According to the settlement administrator, the class is comprised of 57,925 claims encompassing over 184,509 calls deemed to be valid. The three-call assumption was applied to over 135,000 of those calls. In the motion requesting Judge Kennelly to enforce the settlement agreement, the class wrote, “In the end, defendants chose to enter into the agreement and fix their liability, rather than face a trial and judgment that almost assuredly would have put them out of business…Defendants should stick by their deal.”

The case is: Birchmeier et al. v. Caribbean Cruise Line Inc., et al., case number 1:12-cv-04069, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

 


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