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Court finds Dish Network liable for 50+ million illegal telemarketing calls

January 29, 2015

On March 25, 2009, The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), filed suit against Dish Network in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois for telemarketing violations. In its suit, the DOJ was joined by California, Illinois, Ohio, and North Carolina.

On December 12, 2014, the court found Dish Network liable for over 50 million calls that violated the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). See 16 C.F.R. 310. The court found Dish Network violated Do-Not-Call, entity-specific, and abandoned-call rules – along with various violations of state laws. The court made this decision in a partial summary judgment in favor of the FTC. U.S. v. Dish Network, LLC, No. 09-3073, slip op. (C.D. Ill. Dec. 12, 2014).

Summary judgement is appropriate when “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. . .” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a) (emphasis added). Here, the court found the DOJ sufficiently showed there were no disputes as to any material fact because Dish Network “failed to dispute with any evidence” the DOJ’s allegations. U.S. v. Dish Network, LLC, No. 09-3073, slip op. at 4. Therefore, summary judgment against Dish Network was appropriate.

However, the court did leave questions for trial. Particularly, the court reserved the determination of penalties for trial. Id. at 4. Penalties for violating the TSR can be up to $16,000 for each instance. Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act, 74 Fed. Reg. 857 (Jan. 9, 2009) (amending 15 U.S.C. 45(m)(1)(A)).

Corey Varma

Corey Varma is an attorney that focuses on Information Technology and Privacy, Cyberspace, Social Media, and Intellectual Property law.

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