Wells Fargo Gets Initial Approval for $30 Million Robocall Settlement

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By Chris Bruce

Aug. 19 — A proposed 30.5 million settlement between Wells Fargo Bank and consumers who said the bank violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has received an initial okay from a federal court ( Cross v. Wells Fargo Bank NA, N.D. Ga., No. 15-cv-01270, preliminary approval 8/18/16 ).

Kenisha Cross filed a class complaint against the bank in April 2015, saying she received calls on her cell phone from telephone numbers associated with Wells Fargo's overdraft and recovery department. She claimed to represent two nationwide classes of persons who received specified calls from Wells Fargo over a four-year period.

Judge Richard W. Story of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia gave the proposed accord preliminary approval Aug. 18, and scheduled a January hearing to consider final approval.

A Wells Fargo spokesman Aug. 19 declined to comment on the settlement.

The TCPA, enacted in 1991, places restrictions on telemarketing and automated telephone devices. Financial institutions and other companies frequently face class lawsuits alleging violations of the TCPA.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has scheduled argument in October in a major test of how federal regulators define so-called robocalls - calls made to consumers using automated dialing systems(17 CTLR 290, 8/5/16) (144 BBD, 7/27/16).

At issue in that case is a challenge to a 2015 ruling by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) that said TCPA restrictions on autodialers apply to any device with the “capacity” to dial telephone numbers automatically, even if the autodialer isn't being used for that purpose.

The D.C. Circuit's ruling is expected to have wide impact on TCPA litigation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Bruce in Washington at cbruce@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Ferullo at mferullo@bna.com

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