Seattle-based senior living and care referral service A Place for Mom has agreed to settle for $6 million a putative class action lawsuit that claims the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
In a statement to McKnight’s Senior Living, A Place for Mom, the country’s largest such service, said it does not agree with the allegations made in the lawsuit but “chose to settle in order to avoid the uncertainties, distraction, burden and expense of continuing litigation. This will allow APFM to keep its focus where it belongs, on making the lives of our families and customers better, easier and more successful.”
The lawsuit was originated in August 2017 by plaintiff Andrew Kim, who claimed that the referral service did not adequately inform users of its website that they would receive “an autodialed telemarketing call” after completing a form on the service’s website. The small size of the disclaimer text on the form, the complaint said, meant that A Place for Mom did not obtain proper written consent from consumers for the calls as required under the TCPA.
Kevin Pine later was substituted as the plaintiff in the lawsuit.
“As is our standard business practice, A Place for Mom (APFM) only calls prospective customers in response to their inquiries, and has never engaged in cold calling or robocalls,” the company told McKnight’s Senior Living.
As part of the settlement, A Place for Mom said it has initiated “certain practice changes that are designed to assure prior express written consent and prevent claims for violations of the TCPA’s provision on dialing cell phones.”
The settlement potentially will apply to anyone in the United States who received a “nonemergency call” on a cellphone from A Place for Mom between August 7, 2013, and August 15, 2019, “through the use of a dialing system characterized by the plaintiff as an automated telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice.”
Based on A Place for Mom records, the class could exceed 56,000 people, according to court documents. The agreement calls for those in the class to be able to choose to receive cash or have their settlement amounts donated to the nonprofit Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.
Each member of the class is expected to receive at least $25, attorneys in the case estimate. Kim and Pine are expected to receive $10,000 and $2,500, respectively, and the firm that will handle settlement notification and administration will receive a maximum of $320,000. Attorneys’ fees have not been determined yet.