When Is A TCPA Violation “Willful?”

When is a TCPA violation willful? What is the standard of proof? The Eastern District of California addressed those questions last week in N.L. v. Credit One Bank, N.A., 2019 U.S. Dist. Lexis 64622, No. 2:17-cv-01512-JAM-DB, decided March 29, 2019.

A male infant (N.L.) by his mother and natural guardian, Sandra Lemos, sued Credit One and its three contracting vendors for violating the TCPA after receiving over a hundred calls in which the vendors sought to collect on a debt owed to Credit One by a third-party. After the plaintiff settled with the vendors, Credit One went to trial and the jury found that it had violated the TCPA through the calls made by the vendors.

But the plaintiff apparently would not take $500 per violation for an answer. Instead, mom asked the court to exercise its discretion under the statute to treble that amount for “willful” violations, arguing that she told a Credit One vendor to stop calling, but received 183 calls thereafter.

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