Well this was unexpected and really big news so pay attention folks.
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held today that a court may not grant incentive awards in any amount to named class members pursuing TCPA (or any) class actions to a successful resolution.
None. Zero. Not one penny.
In the Court’s view these awards have been illegal since the late 1800s when a pair of Supreme Court cases forbade the payment of personal expenses to class representatives.
The Eleventh Circuit was particularly concerned about the “bounty” aspect of the payments–ironic since just a handful of years ago that same court approved the TCPA as a “bounty” statute authorizing extremely broad standing.
So, in case you missed it, the Eleventh Circuit has made it pretty clear it does not want any more TCPA class actions. Beyond cutting off any incentive for TCPA class plaintiff’s to pursue claims today, it previously:
- Strongly suggested that the FCC’s TCPA orders can be reviewed by district courts;
- Narrowly interpreted the TCPA’s ATDS definition;
- Determined receipt of a single unwanted text does not afford standing;
- Required district courts to assess standing of individual unnamed class members in assessing predominance; and
- Determined that contractual TCPA consent cannot be revoked unilaterally.
The Court also found that a class settlement objection period MUST run past the date a petition for fees is filed as a matter of procedure.
The ruling is here: Incentive Awards Are Gone