Wednesday, October 30, 2013

San Diego Attorney Snags Largest Known "Robo-Calling" Settlement to Date

Local attorney Mark Ankcorn, of counsel to Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield, announced that he has settled a class-action lawsuit Bank of America for $32 million, as reported by San Diego Daily Transcript. The suit alleged that Bank of America violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by "robo-calling" consumers who were behind on credit card or mortgage payments. Ankcorn told the Transcript this settlement is the largest known settlement of a TCPA case.

From the Daily Transcript:
According to Ankcorn, when someone was late on a payment, Bank of America would transfer all known telephone numbers for the account into a computerized calling system that would make as many as seven calls per day, per number.
"This harassment was intense and ongoing -- and violated federal law by running up cellphone bills for millions of consumers across the country,” he said.
Ankcorn said even consumers who talked to a live representative on the phone, and explained how they were working on a payment plan, still continued to receive phone calls.
"They (bank officials) figured the more persistent you are, the more money you get," Ankcorn said. "It's profoundly frustrating and angering, and you want to tear out your hair when someone's talking about your mortgage. You're trying to negotiate but, at the end of the day, nobody's listening."
Ankcorn has been at the forefront of applying the 1990s-era TCPA to current robo-call practices by banks and large corporations. In fact, according to his Casey Gerry bio, his interest was piqued in this area when he says: 
I got a call out of the blue from a woman looking for help with a credit card debt. After some conversation, I learned that she was getting a dozen or more calls every day to her cell phone from a major financial institution for this debt. It had ruined her life: she’d get calls during job interviews, while she was out with friends, every minute of the day. We eventually learned during discovery that they called more than 720 times according to their own records, including two calls on Christmas Day. The six-figure settlement was gratifying, but more than that I got to push back against corporate policies that no one would take responsibility for or try to change."

Ankcorn is a graduate of the University of Redlands and McGeorge School of Law. Most notably, he has a master's degree in rabbinic studies, according to his Casey Gerry Web site. He was a rabbi in Orlando, Florida and according to the Orlando Sentinel, he is the son of a Baptist missionary who spent 40 years in Brazil.

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