Well the judgment of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is on on the big C.D. Ill. ruling that saw Dish Networks rung up for $280MM.
The appellate court concluded that the district court made no material legal errors save one– in assessing damages the Court started with the Plaintiff’s ability to pay and worked backward. The Court determined that proper constitutional analysis starts with the amount of harm actually caused, and then application of a multiplier.
The appellate court concluded that the district court’s award amounted to $4.00 per violation and suggested that if the harm caused per call was $1.00 than the judgment would certainly be proper. But it remanded for the lower court to assess the damage of an unwanted call (according to one expert the cost per unwanted call is as low as 6.8 cents, which would make a proper award no higher than 72 cents a call using a 9 times multipler.)
So Dish gets a second chance to argue the harm it caused wasn’t that harmful. The district court may reduce damages in light of this analysis–then again nothing says the value can’t go higher.
More analysis coming tomorrow.
Here’s the crux of the agency piece of the case so you have it handy:
DISH’s agents, by contrast, acted within their authority to sell TV service using phone calls, and those acts benefited DISH. The district court found that DISH knew what the order- entry retailers were doing. That is enough for DISH to be liable for the order-entry retailers’ illegal calls under those federal and state laws that extend beyond the failure to coordinate internal do-not-call lists.