Texas woman wins default judgment from DirecTV

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Jan. 11, 2010, 3:44am

MARSHALL – A Texas woman who alleged DirecTV bombarded her home with years of unwanted telephone solicitations has won $112,500 in a default judgment against the company.

Virginia Calhoun filed a lawsuit on Feb. 20, 2009, arguing that DirecTv violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by making unsolicited telephone calls.

Calhoun said she received automatic telephone calls with prerecorded messages attempting to sell her satellite television service. She claims she did not have a business relationship with the company making the calls nor consented to the marketing calls.

She claims the calls have continued despite her pleas for them to stop.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act prohibits residential telephone calls by artificial or prerecorded messages without prior consent unless the call is for emergency purposes.

Calhoun argued DirecTV violated the Act for years despite reasonable actions to stop it.

A DirecTV spokesperson told the Southeast Texas Record that "DirecTV takes its obligations under the TCPA very seriously and complies with the national Do Not Call list as well as requests to be placed on our internal Do Not Call list. DirecTV also does not send automated messages to persons with whom it does not have a business relationship.

"Sometimes, unscrupulous third parties make calls and mislead customers into thinking the calls are placed by DirecTV. We vigorously research such situations to protect our name and reputation from being tarnished by the unauthorized acts of others."

However, DirecTV did not respond to the lawsuit and a default judgment was granted to Calhoun. DirecTv is ordered to pay $112,500 for the phone calls and $415 in court costs.

In the lawsuit, Calhoun asked the court for an injunction to restrain DirecTV from the alleged telephone calls and was seeking monetary relief provided under the Act, which allows "actual monetary loss from such a violation, or to receive $500 in damages for each such violation, whichever is greater."

Seeking $1,500 per call, Calhoun argued that if DirecTV "willfully or knowingly violated the TCPA, the court may increase the amount of the award to an amount equal to not more than three times the $500 per call as damages."

Athens attorneys Jeffrey L. Weinstein, James H. Owen and Bonner C. Walsh represented the plaintiff.

The lawsuit was filed in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas with U.S. District Judge T. John Ward presiding over the litigation.

Case No 2:2009cv00055

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