(Photo: Verse Photography via Wikimedia Commons)
The legally embattled Los Angeles Clippers will head to a very different court on June 30 to seek final approval of a $5.3 million settlement of a class action accusing the team of illegally sending unsolicited text messages to the fans’ cellphones.
Lead plaintiff Ari Friedman called foul last August and initiated the lawsuit after he received unwanted spam robotexts from the Clippers. The team snagged his cell number when, during a game, he and others were lured by an offer to post a personal message on the scoreboard for anyone who texted a particular number; the unwelcome texts soon followed, according to the complaint, Friedman v. LAC Basketball Club Inc., U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The basketball team has proposed giving each of thousands of class members the choice of two free tickets to a home game or one free ticket plus a $20 voucher to be used only at the Staples Center store or the Clippers’ online store, according to the preliminarily approved settlement. Plaintiffs’ attorneys will receive up to $600,000.
The complaint alleges the Clippers engaged in negligent and willful violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits unbidden robocalls and -texts. The Clippers deny they did anything improper or illegal.
In a much larger legal arena, the Clippers are also enmeshed in a continuing war over ownership of the team that broke out after the National Basketball Association banished owner George Sterling for uttering racial slurs. And on June 10, former Clippers intern Frank Cooper filed a proposed class action that alleges Sterling and the team violated U.S. and California labor laws by not paying interns at least the minimum wage.
In the robotext matter, the class counsel are Todd Friedman and Nicholas Bontrager of Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman. Clippers’ counsel is Robert Platt of Manatt Phelps Phillips.
Lisa Hoffman is a contributor to law.com.