So one of my favorite TCPAWorld stories ever was the tale of Credit One spanking a guy who apparently set up a TCPA claim for over a quarter million in attorneys fees.
The story stems out of a credit card agreement that required the user to indemnify Credit One for “provid[ing] telephone number(s) for which you are not the subscriber…”
So a guy named Adam Lieberman filled out a credit card application/agreement with CO in the name of his wife, Genese. While Adam mainly provided Genese’s information, he supplied his own phone number and work address. Eventually, an unpaid balance on the card went into default, and the credit card company, Credit One, called Adam’s phone number hundreds of times.
Credit One asserted counterclaims of fraud against Adam—effectively alleging that Adam had manufactured this litigation—and seeking indemnification from Genese. Credit One’s theory was that Adam intentionally went into default to induce telephone calls, which he expected to be made via automatic telephone dialing system, in the hope of generating a TCPA claim.
The arbitrator agreed with Credit One and found Adam had acted in bad faith in pursuing the claim against Credit One. Plus Adam’s wife got hit with a fee award under the indemnity provision– as the cardholder she was responsible to indemnify Credit One for the actions of her husband in supplying a “wrong” number!
The arbitrator awarded Credit One $286,064.62 in attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses. The Liebermans appealed but the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the award finding that the arbitrator’s findings were all perfectly ok. So both husband and wife owe Credit One $286k as a result of the bad faith suit!
But the court found the district court’s additional award against the Lieberman’s for another $73k in fees related to Credit One’s efforts to enforce the award was just piling on. It found the award lacked basis in contract and reversed.
So in the end Credit One won a huge victory against a guy that sued it for hundreds of “robocalls” because he had essentially set up the lawsuit.
Something to keep in mind!