Bass Pro to Settle Suit Over Recorded Calls For $6M

Bass Pro to Settle Suit Over Recorded Calls For $6M Photo: Jenna Greene/NLJ Bass Pro Shops.

Plaintiffs have reeled in a preliminary $6 million settlement with Bass Pro Outdoor World LLC to end a class action that alleged the company violated federal law by illegally recording 30,000 California customers’ calls without their consent.

U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant on Aug. 1 approved the tentative settlement in McDonald v. Bass Pro. The deal also requires the sporting goods retailer to stop recording, without prior approval, incoming and outgoing calls with consumers.

The case, transferred on April 12, 2013 to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California from a state superior court, was initiated by California resident Geoffrey McDonald. The suit alleged his phone call to Bass Pro Shops, in which he revealed private financial information to a customer service representative, was recorded in violation of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act, which requires consent from both parties to record calls.

Settlement documents show the parties identified more than 94,000 calls between Bass Pro Shops and its customers occurred during the class period between March 14, 2012 and April 3, 2013. From that number, the defendants were able to identify about 30,400 customers who could be eligible to join the class.

In all, the settlement calls for up to 30 percent of the $6 million cash fund to go to legal fees, and up to $150,000 for expenses, the documents show. That would leave about $4 million for class members.

Bass Pro Shops states in the agreement that, since March 28, 2013, it has not recorded incoming telephone calls from California area codes without first notifying the caller the call may be recorded. Since April 4, the company says, it has not recorded outbound calls to California. It intends to continue the practice, unless California law changes in the future to allow single-party consent, the settlement states.

Bass Pro Shops is represented by Carlson & Messer LLP and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. The plaintiffs’ are represented by James Clapp, James Hannink and Zachariah Dostart, of Dostart Clapp & Coveney LLP.

Lisa Hoffman is a contributor to law.com.

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