Sunday, November 25, 2012

Federal District Court of Washington certifies class in text message suit against Papa John’s

Kazerouni Law Group APC

November 25 2012

 With a national class and a Washington state sub-class getting official certification two weeks ago, the national pizza chain Papa John’s International, Inc. (“Papa John’s”) suddenly has a lot more to worry about than just the passing of Obamacare. On November 9, 2012, the federal District Court of Washington certified both a national class and a Washington state sub-class in an action brought by Maria Agne, on her own behalf and on behalf of other similarly situated persons, against Papa John’s, alleging that Papa John’s violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). It is alleged that Papa John’s violated the TCPA by sending unsolicited advertising text messages to prior Papa John’s customers. The class was certified upon a showing to the court that plaintiffs had standing in federal court and satisfied all other class certification requirements.

 For those not regularly schooled in the art of statutory interpretation, the TCPA is a federal privacy law enacted by congress in 1991 and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush which imposes restrictions on automated dialing systems, artificial and prerecorded voice messages, fax machine communications and telephonic solicitations – including both telemarketing calls and text messages. Under provisions in the TCPA, telephonic solicitations can be legal if consent is obtained from the sendee by the sender prior to the telephonic solicitations. Here in lies the problem. Plaintiffs claim that Papa John’s and its franchisees not only sent customers unsolicited text message with promotional codes for future discounted purchases of Papa John’s products, they did so without first obtaining the customers’ consent before sending the alleged text messages.

 According to the complaint, filed May 28, 2012, particular Papa John’s franchisees provided the marketing company OnTime4U with lists of telephone numbers of individuals who had purchased pies from the national pizza chain. Although there was no concrete evidence showing Papa John’s expressly contracted with OnTime4U to solicit Papa John’s customers via telephonic solicitations, the court observed that preliminary discovery supported plaintiffs’ clam that Papa John’s authorized and encouraged its franchisees to utilize OnTime4U’s telephonic solicitation services.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Why It Is worth Fighting Credit Card Lawsuits

Originally published by Seyed Abbas Kazerounian as part of an piece focusing on the various reasons consumers should actively defend and litigate credit card lawsuits:

 There are a myriad of reasons why you would want to defend and litigate a credit card suit against you.

 Your Opponent: - You are not usually litigating against seasoned litigators – usually the firms that bring these cases are debt collectors under the guise of law firms. These are firms that file approximately 2000 lawsuits a month. These are firms that are using large secretarial/paralegal staff and very few attorneys. Essentially, the few attorneys that are working at these firms have so many cases to deal with that they do not wish to deal with a real litigant opponent. Even if they did have the litigation experience, they do not have the time and/or the resources to deal with additional paper work.

 Step 1 – The Complaint: Such firms work on the premise that over 95% of lawsuits will default and that they will get a judgment without any fight. So all the complaints are boilerplate form complaints and only names and figures have been changed. A lot of the time errors have been made in quickly putting together these complaints and you may have a chance to demurrer the complaint, which immediately starts the paper work process for the overworked plaintiff counsel. If the debt is small enough, they may dismiss at this early stage.

 Step 2 – Initial Discovery: If and when the plaintiff has overcome your demurrer and/or you have answered, immediately propound discovery. The last thing they will want to deal with is discovery and the paper intensive work that is related to that. If it is a debt buyer plaintiff, you will want to request paper work showing how they have standing to bring the suit in the first place. You obviously must request any contract that you they have alleged exists and the lawsuit is based on. 

Step 3 – Meet & Confer and Discovery Motions: More than likely the Plaintiff counsel will delay in responding and miss deadlines, and even if not, 9/10 times the responses are insufficient. It is crucial that you meet and confer and calendar the response date. More than likely they will miss the date and at this point you will have the opportunity to be the aggressor. Bring your motion to compel and seek sanctions. Far too many times these plaintiffs bring lawsuits and they are not prepared to engage in good faith discovery and that is where you can win your case. You will win your motion and the plaintiff will see that it is facing heavy sanctions. You will see a high success rate at this stage. A lot of cases are dismissed (don’t forget you can seek costs if they drop the case) and/or the offers to settle are drastically lower than before. By this time you have bought yourself or your client close to 8 months to save money so that you can settle at this stage.

 Step 4 – Trial: If you have not settled by now, you have to maintain the willingness to go to trial attitude because the likeliness is that the Plaintiff will not want to go to trial (and more importantly for them, they will not have the resources and the time to take you to trial). You will have bought yourself or your client close to 12 months of more by now. You will have a good chance of receiving pennies on the dollar offers to settle the case if it has not already been dismissed. If you do go to trial, do not let them testify by declaration; force their witnesses to fly in (causing more expense and hassle). Also be sharp with your rules of evidence as a lot of the time the witness that has been brought in by the Plaintiff will not have actual knowledge of the documents and will not be able to lay foundation in order to get them into evidence. It is possible to non-suit these cases if you are alert. For debt buyer plaintiffs, attack their standing to bring the suit in the first place. Furthermore, debt buyer plaintiffs very rarely will have the full account documents or the any alleged contract that you or client was alleged to have made with the initial creditor. The information provided on this article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as forming an attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship between the reader and Abbas Kazerounian should be deemed to have been formed. Mr. Kazerounian is only licensed in the State of California and only writes as to his experiences in State of California.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kazerouni Law Group APC Successful in $24M Settlement against Sallie Mae

On Monday September 17, 2012, the Federal Court approved over $24 million settlement between SLM Corp., the parent company of Sallie Mae Inc. (the largest U.S. student-loan company) and a class of borrowers who alleged the student loan company used auto-dialers and autodialed the parties cellphones in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

 Kazerouni Law Group APC’s represented one of the class representative, Pari Najafi, in the matter and appeared Pro Hac Vice.

 Kazerouni Law Group APC focuses on Consumer Class Actions and is currently counsel in over 50 class action matters, and this is the latest settlement to reach final approval by a Federal Judge.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

About Us

At Kazerouni Law Group, APC our attorneys focus and specialize on Consumer protection from scrupulous and unauthorized debt collection practices, personal injury, and class action lawsuits. We aim to always provide the highest standard of legal service to our clients.

 Kazerouni Law Group APC’s highly qualified attorneys provide you with their legal expertise to help you solve and overcome your legal needs. If you need AGGRESSIVE and proactive lawyers to follow your case and pursue your rights, Kazerouni Law Group APC will be the right fit for you. 

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