TCPAWorld is a tough place. Really tough.
You walk the streets around here with your head on a swivel. Any mistake can be costly.
Take the case of Champion v. Sethi, et al. 2023 WL 2708576, CV-22-01355-PHX-DGC (D. Az. March 30, 2023.)
There a couple of well-known TCPA names–Champion and Alvord–tangled with a few individuals allegedly controlling “a massive text message spamming operation, APEX SMS.”
Three of these individuals–Hameet Sethi; Jessie Sotomayor; and Andrew Zamora–were allegedly served with the lawsuit but failed to answer or respond to it timely. So Plaintiffs sought default against each. Sethi came to court belatedly and asked to have the court lift the default–but the Court refused finding Sethi had not submitted any evidence of a meritorious defense!
So the Court proceeded to consider judgment against these three–and here’s where it gets serious:
Champion seeks $1,620,000 in enhanced statutory damages. Doc. 30-1 at 3, 21. He claims that each of the 540 text messages he received from Defendants constitutes an ATDS violation under § 227(b), and requests $1,500 for each call, for a total of $810,000. Doc. 30 1 at 14. Champion further claims that each call violated § 227(c) and its regulations, §§ 64.1200(c)(2) and (d)(4), and seeks an additional $810,000. Id. at 17. 12
Alvord seeks $807,000 for the 269 text messages he received – $403,500 for violations of § 227(b) and $403,500 for the § 227(c) violations. Id. at 14, 17, 21.
Eesh. $2.4MM in damages being sought in an INDIVIDUAL suit.
The Court declined to grant judgment in that large amount at this stage–however–requiring Plaintiffs to prove they received as many text messages as they claim. But it appears they are set to do so.
Can’t emphasize enough how important it is to appear and defend yourself in these lawsuits folks. If a default gets entered you may find yourself unable to prevent a massive judgment being entered. And showing up late to Court can be extremely costly–just ask Mr. Sethi.
We’ll keep an eye on this.