Last month, an Oregon federal judge refused ViSalus’ request to decrease the $925 million jury award against it for its alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). ViSalus, a health supplement maker, allegedly made approximately 1.8 million unsolicited robocalls. This award came after ViSalus decided not to settle the class action and face statutory damages between $500 and $1,500 per unwanted text or call. This jury award should be a warning to other companies whose strategy in these TCPA class action cases is to bypass settlement negotiations and argue at trial that the Constitution’s due process clause should protect them from exposure to damage awards that are extensive and far-reaching beyond the harm actually incurred by the alleged conduct.
This case ended up in the hands of a jury in April, after the court certified a nationwide class of about 800,000 individuals. The judge did, however, determine that ViSalus did not need to pay more than $500 per call for the award to be a sufficient deterrent, but also did not want to go below the statutory minimum.
However, while the judge did issue a final judgment approving the $925 million award, ViSalus plans to move forward with post-trial motions and to appeal this case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. While other courts have weighed in on this issue in the past, the Ninth Circuit has yet to make a determination on TCPA awards. We will continue to watch this case as it moves through the appeals process.