A Reasonable Facsimile

The Madison County Record Sep. 13, 2009, 9:52am

You can tell a lot about people by how they react to petty grievances.

If they shrug them off or don't even notice, they're probably well-balanced and able to keep things in perspective. If little things set them off, however, they may have serious ego or anger-management problems. You probably want to steer clear of them.

For instance, you certainly don't want to hire some hothead to do construction work on your home or business. If a disagreement arises as to the quality of craftsmanship, the agreed-upon completion date or the expected payment, you could wind up in court or worse.

Unsolicited faxes are a typical example of a minor annoyance. Most people ignore them. Some get angry. The folks at Locklear Electric in Wood River apparently dislike junk faxes to the point of obsession.

On August 28th Locklear filed a putative class action suit in St. Clair County Circuit Court against the Florissant Injury and Pain Relief Center and William Straughn because of a faxed advertisement it received from both on September 18, 2005. Apparently they've been stewing about it for two years.

It's not the first such suit they've filed. Since February 2005, Locklear has initiated at least eight class action lawsuits in Madison and St. Clair Counties about unsolicited faxes. Locklear doesn't think it's an overeaction.

"Receiving Defendants' junk faxes caused the recipients to lose paper and toner consumed in the printing of Defendants' faxes," the complaint whines. "Moreover, Defendants' faxes used Plaintiff's fax machine. Defendants' faxes cost Plaintiff time, as Plaintiff and its employees wasted their time receiving, reviewing and routing Defendants' illegal faxes."


One does have to wonder how much toner and paper really got wasted because of junk faxes. And how much the lawyers will be paid to adjudicate this weighty legal issue?

Finally, how much time and money will be spent on this case in our over-burdened courts which have to deal with a worsening flood of frivolous lawsuits that seem to seek financial gain rather than fair treatment?

Whether you feel their pain or not, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act does prohibit certain junk mail from tying up the fax machines of companies such as Locklear Electric.

The law makes no mention of personal communications, however. If you want to comment on their fearless crusade against unsolicited advertising, you can legally do so by faxing the litigious folks at Locklear. The number is in the local directory.

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