American Freedom Mortgage in O'Fallon

A local mortgage loan company is the target of a new class action lawsuit claiming it violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for using automated telephone dialing equipment to deliver pre-recorded promotional messages to residences.

The Lakin Law Firm of Wood River filed the complaint against Amerifirst, Inc. (dba American Freedom Mortgage, American Freedom Home Lending, American National Brokerage) on Oct. 18 in St. Clair County Circuit Court. Amerifirst has an office at 1309 West Highway 50 in O'Fallon.

Plaintiff Marilyn Margulis seeks to represent a class of "at least 39 other" call recipients.

"On or about May 10, 2007, using an automatic telephone dialing system, Defendant called Plaintiff's telephone number which was assigned to a residential telephone service and delivered a message containing a pre-recorded voice message," the complaint states.

Lakin's co-counsel includes Phillip A. Bock of Diab & Bock in Chicago and Brian J. Wanca of Anderson & Wanca in Rolling Meadows, Ill.

Plaintiff's counsel is experienced in handling claims brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the suit says.

"Defendant knew or should have known that it delivered a prerecorded message to Plaintiff advertising the commercial availability of any property, goods, or services and did not have the prior express consent of Plaintiff to make such telephone contact and that no established business relationship existed with Plaintiff," the complaint states.

The suit asserts that state court jurisdiction is appropriate because individual claims are worth less than $75,000.

According to the complaint, Amerifirst failed to correctly determine the legal restrictions on the use of prerecorded message to residential phone subscribers.

The two-count suit also claims the class has been damaged by invasion of privacy.

"Defendant's pre-recorded telephone call invaded Plaintiff's right of privacy to be left alone and maintain her seclusion in her residence," the complaint states.

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