Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

$1.6 Million Settlement Proposed in 'Junk' Fax Suit in St. Louis Federal Court

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

$1.6 Million Settlement Proposed in 'Junk' Fax Suit in St. Louis Federal Court

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * A federal judge here was asked Thursday to approve a $1.6 million class action settlement that could mean up to $180 per copy for dental businesses that claimed an Indiana company sent tens of thousands of unsolicited "junk" faxes.

The Sunset Hills dental office that filed the suit stands to get $10,000 as the class representative.

But Sunset Tower Family Dentistry office manager Barney dePenaloz said that he was not motivated by the money. "I was getting 40 faxes a day," he said, from multiple senders. "You can't get them to stop."

The dental office's 2015 lawsuit against Zimmer Dental Inc. and an employee said that they were subjected to a "prolonged junk fax assault" of 19 faxes from Zimmer in seven months, some coming only seven days apart. He said that he started collecting the Zimmer faxes several months after they began arriving.

Zimmer, based in Indiana, sells dental implants and other products. The company denied any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. A spokesperson did not respond to a call seeking comment, and its lawyer deferred to the company.

The lawsuit says the Zimmer faxes were unwanted and did not provide a fax number, as required by law. They also did not provide the mandatory opt-out notice stating that "failure to comply, within 30 days, of a recipient's request to the sender not to send future faxed advertisements is unlawful," the suit says.

The faxes did show a phone number to a voice line.

In court Thursday, lawyer Ronald J. Eisenberg told U.S. District Judge Ronnie White that it was a "great outcome" that came after "a lot of challenges." White had stayed the case while Zimmer applied to the Federal Communications Commission for a waiver, he said, and while three cases with potential to impact the suit went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Eisenberg called the settlement "unique," citing the minimum settlement of $1.6 million that meant at least $100 would go to members of the class for each fax. Of 36,215 potential fax recipients, just over 10 percent, or 3,709, responded to a mailed, or faxed, notice of the settlement. …

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