Legal Ethics

7th Circuit Nixes Class Action Over Junk Faxes, Criticizes How Plaintiffs' Counsel Obtained Clients


Reversing a trial court’s green light for a would-be class action, a federal court of appeals yesterday nixed the expansion of a case over junk faxes.

In doing so, the court criticized the way Chicago-based Bock & Hatch lined up clients for the case, Reuters reports.

Promising confidentiality to a woman who faxes material on behalf of advertisers, the law firm obtained a list of companies sending and receiving the faxes. The result was the Creative Montessori Learning Centers suit against Ashford Gear addressed by the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opinion (PDF) yesterday and 50 others like it, the news agency recounts.

The suit was brought under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which provides for damages of $500 to $1,500 per junk fax.

“Class counsel have demonstrated a lack of integrity that casts serious doubt on their trustworthiness as representatives of the class,” wrote Judge Richard Posner in the three-judge panel’s opinion. “The lawyers appeared more likely to serve their own interests than that of their clients.”

Lawyers for parties in the case were not immediately available for comment, Reuters reports.

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