verdicts and settlements
()

Date of Verdict:

Oct. 13.

Court and Case No.:

Eastern District of Pennsylvania, No. 2:15-cv-04623.

Judge:

Mark A. Kearney.

Type of Action:

Class action.

Injuries:

Unsolicited phone calls.

Plaintiffs Counsel:

Shanon J. Carson, Berger & Montague, Philadelphia.

Defense Counsel:

John Shea, Litchfield Cavo, Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Comment:

A home remodeling company will pay $5.2 million to settle a class action lawsuit for making numerous unsolicited phone calls to over 1 million people.

U.S. District Judge Mark Kearney of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania approved the settlement Oct. 12 between Power Home Remodeling and those who received the calls. The judge’s decision notes that the company already changed its business practices regarding calls to cellphones.

“We approve the negotiated settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate after finding immediate changes in the sales-lead company’s business practices on cellphone sales calls and an opportunity to file a claim to recover damages,” Kearney wrote in his opinion. “We further award 25 percent of the common fund recovery as attorney fees, and approve the capped administrative costs incurred by the claims administrator and class counsel.”

The litigation started after Teofilo Vasco gave his cellphone number to a salesperson while shopping at Home Depot. He claimed Power Home Remodeling called him 21 times after that. Vasco consulted an attorney and filed suit under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Power Home initially argued that the statute of limitations expired on Vasco’s claims and cited a lack of intent to violate the act.

After a sampling of call records were provided by Power Home, “Vasco learned of over 1.1 million potential class members through informal discovery,” Kearney said. “As a result of the litigation, Power Home modified its business practices on consent and cellphone calls.”

A settlement agreement was reached after mediation in December 2015. Of the $5.2 million, Power Home agreed to pay $1.3 million in attorney fees, up to $20,000 in litigation expenses, up to $5,000 for Vasco’s service award and up to $1.2 million in notice and administrative costs.

However, Kearney said Vasco’s service fee would be reduced to $3,000.

Kearney added that only four people out of more than a million claimants objected to the settlement.

“The settlement agreement is entitled to the presumption of fairness, in part because the parties negotiated it at arm’s length with the benefit of an experienced mediator over two days. The fairness considerations weigh in favor of settlement,” Kearney said.

Shanon J. Carson, a Berger & Montague attorney in Philadelphia representing the plaintiffs, did not return a call seeking comment.

John Shea of Litchfield Cavo in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, represented Power Home and did not return a call seeking comment.

— P.J. D’Annunzio, of the Law Weekly •