Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – June 1, 2015 – Greenspoon Marder Law shareholders, and Jeffrey Backman recently secured a defense verdict in the matter entitled Richard Epstein, Greg Soulliere v. CFI Resorts Management, Inc., et al. The case was brought by the Plaintiff for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The Plaintiff owned a Timeshare managed and operated by CFI Resorts Management, Inc. (“CFIRM”).
In connection with his ownership, the Plaintiff was obligated to pay maintenance and taxes; however, after six years of payments and usage, he chose to voluntarily stop making those payments. As a result, CFIRM began calling him at the cellular telephone number he provided at the time he acquired the Timeshare to collect the debt owed. He continuously refused to pay. The TCPA prohibits calls to cellular telephones using an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS) without prior express consent; there has also been a recent trend in allowing TCPA claims where the consumer alleges he or she revoked the consent previously given. The issue in this case was not whether or not CFIRM called, but whether CFIRM had prior express consent to call and, if it had consent, then whether that consent was revoked. The Plaintiff claimed he told CFIRMs collection agents over and over again “please don’t call my cell phone.”
Despite owing over $4,000 in unpaid maintenance and taxes, and refusing to pay, the Plaintiff was seeking $231,000 from CFIRM for calls which were made over a three-year time period to collect that debt. The jury found that not only did CFIRM have the Plaintiff’s prior express consent to call, but that the Plaintiff did not revoke the consent given. This was a huge win for the defense and should send a message to those consumers seeking to similarly take advantage of the system that a jury will not allow such windfall.
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