International real estate giant Keller Williams agreed to a gigantic TCPA settlement, amid allegations that its agents illegally called and texted over 2 million people. As part of the settlement, Keller Williams agreed to pay $40 million—potentially the largest TCPA settlement ever sought in state court.
A class action suit brought in Florida state court accused Keller Williams of contacting consumers without their consent, committing violations of the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry and their internal DNC lists, as well as rules around the use of prerecorded voice and an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). In the settlement, Keller Williams denies any wrongdoing.
In addition to the hefty monetary settlement, Keller Williams agreed to a range of other relief efforts, including the creation of an internal TCPA task force, increasing the visibility of a TCPA resource center for its agents, and providing further compliance education to franchisees.
As Eric Troutman points out at TCPAWorld, the settlement runs against the grain of recent TCPA settlement action, most notably the case of Murray v. Grocery Delivery E-Services USA. In this case, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a settlement against grocery service HelloFresh was invalid. According to the Court, the class-action settlement actually incorporated a variety of different classes, each of which would require separate counsel. As Troutman writes, this potentially opens up an avenue for someone to reject the settlement in the Keller Williams case.
For now, the massive settlement looks set to stand. But with a Coldwell Banker case scheduled for later this spring, Keller Williams’ $40 million settlement might soon seem quite small.
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