Law Firm Gets $12M Default Over Telemarketer Spoof

By George Khoury, Esq. on November 15, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Usually when a law firm's phone starts ringing off the hook, it's a good thing.

But when those callers have no idea why you called them and you weren't the one to actually call, naturally, things can get a little confusing. When that happens thousands of times, one can only assume it goes from confusing to infuriating.

Luckily for the real life law firm that was plagued by this, they were able to dig deep enough to find the culprit causing the telephonic mess and just recently secured a $12 million default judgment against them.

Never Spoof a Lawyer's Number

Apparently, the law firm started receiving calls because a telemarketing company abroad was using a robodialer that allowed it to input any phone number it wanted to show up in the recipient's caller ID (which is called number spoofing). 

And while you'd think that the number-flaunting telemarketer would know better than to spoof the number for a law firm, they didn't. Just in case you're curious about what the calls were about, the telemarketer was targeting elderly folks to gather information to sell to insurance companies (which probably isn't as nefarious as you suspected).

So naturally, when thousands of people didn't answer the calls in time, they called the number back that showed up in their caller ID, and ended up reaching the law firm. The law firm, after it was finally fed up with all the nonsense calls, started investigating, and was able to get the cooperation of some of those callers to help track down where the robocalls originated. The firm filed a John Doe lawsuit, issued subpoenas to the telephone providers, and discovered that a telemarketing company in South Africa was to blame.

In another stroke of luck for the law firm, the telemarketer's service provider, Telcast Networks is registered domestically in Delaware and is jointly and severally liable, at least for tortious interference portion of the judgment. Approximately $10 million is attributed to a state law claim with statutory damages of $1,000 per call, while another $2 million was added on for tortious interference.

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