AmEx Gets Thumbs-Up on $9.25 Million Robocall Accord

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By Chris Bruce

July 7 — A federal judge gave initial approval to a $9.25 million settlement between American Express Co. and consumers who said the company made illegal debt collection calls and telemarketing calls to their cell phones ( Ossola v. Am. Express Co., N.D. Ill., No. 13-cv-04836, preliminary approval 7/6/16 ).

The July 6 action by Judge John Z. Lee of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois centered on claims by Jennifer Ossola and others that AmEx, by itself or through third parties, violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

In separate orders, Zee gave preliminary approval to a $8.25 million settlement covering 798,000 class members who said they received automated telemarketing calls in violation of the TCPA.

He also approved a $1 million accord with 3,200 class members who said AmEx violated the TCPA by having a third party make automated debt collection calls to their cell phones.

Among other points, the settlement highlights the importance of ACA International v. FCC (No. 15-cv-01211), a case now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which is hearing a challenge to Federal Communication Commission rulings that define “automatic telephone dialing system” under the TCPA.

Uncertainty about the outcome in that case was a factor in reaching the settlement, court papers said.

AmEx spokeswoman Marina H. Norville declined to comment on the accord July 7.

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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