I love love love love TCPAWorld.
It is the weirdest funnest place. And whereas I lovingly started this blog to cover legal developments to help other defense lawyers be better at their jobs–still a work in progress–it really has afforded me an incredible opportunity to cover weird little stories that would never get coverage anywhere else.
There is $476,000.00 up for grabs right now following a TCPA settlement in Arizona. And the background here is just incredible.
After an initial claims process, a group of 354 people who made claims were issued checks–but never cashed them.
Because these checks were HUGE–on average $1,344.00 each–the total unclaimed sums here is nearly half a million bucks. In free money. Owed to people who made a claim and were sent a check.
Notably, the 354 non-check cashers actually amount to about 20% of the entire claiming population. That means that 1 in 5 people who went through the process of making a claim did not ultimately cash the check.
Weird right? Who in the world receive a check for $1,344.00(ish) and says…not worth the trip to the bank.
Well I’m guessing there was some kind of mailing issue here but when the Court and the parties got together to figure out what to do with the extra dough laying around nobody apparently thought about trying to re-send the checks to see if they ended up cashed the second time. (I mean, come on guys.)
Instead, the Defendant (naturally) argued it should get all of the money back itself. I mean, after all the claiming class members were sent their money. They didn’t want it. So it should be returned to whence it came under the doctrine of res ipsa boomeranga. (I made that up.)
The Plaintiff on the other hand argued that a second distribution should be made to the people who did cash their checks. Now these lucky people have already received like $1,600 bucks each, but Plaintiff argues they should get another ~$400.00 or so. I mean, they cashed the first check so they deserve a little gravy, right?
The Court was deeply unimpressed with Defendant’s argument: “[Defendant] has been trying for years to avoid its obligations under the parties’ settlement agreement. All its previous efforts failed but [Defendant] has not given up hope.”
Seems a tad harsh.
But the Court seemed just fine Plaintiff’s idea of giving people who already got their free money and didn’t expect more free money some more free money, because–hey, beats giving it to the Defendant, am I right?
In any event, the Court accepted the Plaintiff’s proposal and ordered a distribution to the people who had cashed their checks–whereras the folks who did not cash their checks will get nothing. (Wonder what will happen when they start posting comments on TCPAWorld.com asking for their money because they never got their check? Probably nothing.)
But here’s the worst worst part. The Court holds that if money is left over after the second distribution the money should go to cy pres (charity). Which is fine, except that the cy pres recipient isn’t like a homeless shelter or something– its the NCLC.
Ok, reminder, the NCLC is the supposedly pro-consumer group that actually advocates against consumers by making everyone’s life harder by promoting abusive litigation.
I mean, they don’t bill their efforts that way, of course. But they advocate endlessly for a broader TCPA. These are the folks who once told Congress the TCPA is “straightforward and clear“–you know, despite all those splits of authority and Supreme Court rulings and that world-class, award-winning, widely-read blog analyzing the volumes of case law the statute has produced, and all.
TCPA defendants should never never never never never never x 10 include the NCLC as a cy pres recipient. Instead, choose TCPAWorld.com. Or, you know, anyone else in the world.
Anyway, if the class members in Reid who already received there settlement claim checks don’t cash their second (unexpected) check all of the left over money gets split between two cy pres and one of them is the NCLC.
And I say boooooo.
But also, you have to admit this is fascinating. Why did so many checks go uncashed? And why didn’t the Court give the people who didn’t cash their checks another chance to get their checks? And why isn’t TCPAWorld.com everyone’s cy pres recipient of choice?