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Phoney Lawsuits: Settlement Cancels Fight Against Frequent TCPA Lawyer/Plaintiff Combo

Forbes, April 25, 2017

By: John O'Brien 

A lawsuit that once looked destined for a showdown between a prolific plaintiffs lawyer and a defendant accusing him and his plaintiff of manufacturing lawsuits has been settled.

On March 17, plaintiff Jason Alan settled his Telephone Consumer Protection Act lawsuit against BrandRep, which had fought the lawsuit by claiming Alan creating the circumstances leading to his TCPA claim.

BrandRep had promised to add the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman to a counterclaim that alleged the scheme. The details were outlined in aLegal Newsline article published on Forbes on March 14.

Alan sought to represent a class of individuals allegedly harmed by BrandRep phone calls. Details of the settlement are not included in court records.

BrandRep accused Alan of making public more than 20 phone numbers he associated with various business entities to invite calls. The TCPA provides for statutory damages of $500 or $1,500 per call, depending on the caller's actions.

A lawsuit that once looked destined for a showdown between a prolific plaintiffs lawyer and a defendant accusing him and his plaintiff of manufacturing lawsuits has been settled.

On March 17, plaintiff Jason Alan settled his Telephone Consumer Protection Act lawsuit against BrandRep, which had fought the lawsuit by claiming Alan creating the circumstances leading to his TCPA claim.

BrandRep had promised to add the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman to a counterclaim that alleged the scheme. The details were outlined in aLegal Newsline article published on Forbes on March 14.

Alan sought to represent a class of individuals allegedly harmed by BrandRep phone calls. Details of the settlement are not included in court records.

BrandRep accused Alan of making public more than 20 phone numbers he associated with various business entities to invite calls. The TCPA provides for statutory damages of $500 or $1,500 per call, depending on the caller's actions.

“Why does one person need nearly 30 telephone numbers?” attorneys for the company asked in September.

Alan’s alleged plan goes beyond simply collecting as many phone numbers as possible and hoping they once belonged to someone who would be contacted by debt collectors, as a Pennsylvania woman admitted to doing. He registered his numbers with various businesses and published them in the Yellow Pages and the Los Angeles Times'classified section.

BrandRep says 22 of Alan’s phone numbers have been published as numbers for a group of plumbing businesses. This has the effect under the TCPA of providing worldwide written consent to be called, BrandRep claims, nullifying any legal claims.

Alan has filed more than 30 lawsuits in federal courts, and only three remain open.

BrandRep alleged Alan and Friedman have created lawsuits like an automobile factory would manufacture its own cars, using boilerplate complaints so they could file a large number of complaints easily.

Friedman called the company’s claims “frivolous” and said they showed the company has no idea how to comply with the TCPA.

“This is precisely why this class action case is so important. Instead of acknowledging its own widespread privacy violations, BrandRep shockingly has attempted to cast blame on (Alan) and his counsel… in retaliation for bringing a meritorious and legitimate class action against this serial robocaller,” Friedman wrote.

Plaintiffs filed nearly 5,000 TCPA lawsuits last year, and trials rarely occur. Every argument in a TCPA case is essentially made to broker a settlement.

Friedman had challenged whether BrandRep could pursue the strategy.

“Defendant’s conspiratorial claims rest on the assumption that Plaintiff and his counsel are engaged in some sort of elaborate scheme to frivolously sue numerous companies and extort sums out of them in settlements,” he wrote.

“Even if this were true (it’s not, and it’s ridiculous) BrandRep has failed to demonstrate it has standing to bring these claims.”

Friedman says he hasn’t acquired any money or property from BrandRep, so the company can’t bring a claim for restitution.

Friedman is one of the most active plaintiffs lawyers in the country. Information from the federal courts database shows he has filed approximately 180 federal lawsuits so far this year.