Walgreen Co. has agreed to pay $11 million to settle a class suit accusing it of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by placing robocalls to customers’ cellphones with prerecorded prescription reminder messages. The settlement stipulates that Walgreens will pay $11 million into a settlement fund, which will be used to pay class members’ claims and will fund notice and settlement administration expenses, along with attorneys’ fees. Putative class members can expect to receive around $20 each for their claims, according to the motion.
All consumers who received a prerecorded prescription call from Walgreens to their cellphone are included in the proposed nationwide class. This is expected to include more than 9 million individuals. None of the money in the fund will revert back to the retailer, according to the motion. Walgreens has also agreed to improve its procedures for confirming that customers have consented to receive prerecorded prescription calls to their cellphones, and to more easily allow individuals to opt in or out of the refill reminder program. The Plaintiffs said in the motion:
The settlement – in terms of tangible monetary relief and improved customer telephone contact practices going forward – is strong, both compared to other similar TCPA actions and when viewed in light of the risks of protracted litigation. As it relates to Walgreens’ defenses and the relationship of the parties, the strength of the settlement becomes ever more apparent.
The Plaintiffs acknowledged in the motion that the suit is not a “prototypical” TCPA case in that the calls went to pharmacy patients with a current prescription at Walgreens, which was due for refill. The retailer had also argued that the calls could be viewed as medical alerts, which would be allowed by the statute under its “emergency purpose” exception. If the prescriptions were left unfilled, the consumer could potentially suffer adverse health consequences, the retailer claimed. Settlement class members who submit claims will receive a pro rata share of the settlement after attorneys’ fees, an incentive award, and settlement administration expenses have been paid.
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