Defendant seeks removal of faxed ad class action cases

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Oct 21, 2013

Park University filed a notice of removal in a local insurance company’s claim that it incurred printing and paper costs over unwanted advertisement faxes.

Plaintiff Warma, Witter, Kreisler, Gregov and Associates in O’Fallon filed two proposed class action lawsuits on Aug. 13 against Park University Enterprises, doing business as Fred Pryor Seminars, and Roadside Trailer Services.

Park University filed its removal notice Sept. 25 through attorneys Bart T. Murphy and Isaac J. Colunga of Ice Miller LLP in Lisle, arguing that federal court has jurisdiction over Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims, which the defendants are accused of violating.

In the complaint against Park University, Warma claims it received 11 fax advertisements featuring products and services from Park University between Feb. 13 and April 11.

An unwanted fax from Roadside was also received on Feb. 13, according to the complaint.

“On information and belief, defendants sent the same facsimiles to plaintiff and more than 39 other recipients without first receiving the recipients’ express permission or invitation,” the suit against Park University states. “This is based, in part, on the fact that plaintiff never gave permission to anyone to send the subject fax advertisement to it, and that sending advertisements by fax is a very cheap way to reach a wide audience.”

Warma also blames the defendants for failing to include a proper opt out notice in their advertisements, which were placed in tiny font at the very bottom of the pages they sent. Proper opt out notices, which allow businesses to choose not to receive the fax advertisements, are supposed to be large and clear, the insurance company says.

The defendants are also accused of violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act by forcing the insurance company to incur costs without receiving anything in return, the suit states.

“Defendants’ practice effectively forced plaintiff and the other class members to pay for defendants’ advertising campaign,” the complaint states.

Warma seeks a class action status plus damages of $500 to $1,000 for each violation of TCPA and an injuction prohibiting the defendants from engaging in similar actions in the future.

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Robert LeChien scheduled a mandatory status conference for both cases for Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m.

Phillip A. Bock, James M. Smith and Phillip J. Bullimore of Bock and Hatch in Chicago and Robert J. Sprague of Sprague and Urban in Belleville are representing the plaintiff.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case numbers 13-L-422 and 13-L-423

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