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Lead plaintiff Michael Etzel filed the Hooter class action lawsuit charging the casual theme restaurant chain with violating federal anti-telemarketing statutes. Etzel asserted in the class action lawsuit that Hooters sent promotional text messages to customers who never agreed to receive promotional text messages or had decided to revoke prior consent. The Hooters class action lawsuit involves application of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
Initially enacted to prevent telemarketers from harassing consumers by placing unsolicited telephone calls, Congress has expanded the legal scope of the landmark law to account for rapidly changing technology. However, the intent of the original legislation remains firmly intact. Advertisers must receive written consent from consumers before using automated equipment to deliver marketing messages. The TCPA also prohibits auto dialing or in the case of the written word, auto texting.
Etzel claimed class members never gave Hooters the green legal light to send promotional text messages, which court documents revealed to consist of more than 55,000 messages. Hooters attempted unsuccessfully to dismiss the class action lawsuit, but a United States District judge overruled the efforts. A judge granted preliminary approval of the class action settlement in August of 2017, although Hooters continues to deny all of the allegations.
Terms of the class action settlement require Hooters to set up a $1.29 million fund that distributes to class members and to Etzel as a plaintiff incentive award. Hooters also consented to refrain from sending promotional text messages to the cell phones owned by eligible class members.
What You Need To Know About The Hooters Text Message Spam Class Action Settlement
According to court documents, eligible class members include “persons who owned the telephone numbers to which the text message at issue was sent on Jan. 28, 2015 on behalf of Hooters mClub.” Class members have until November 20, 2017 to opt out of the class action settlement or dispute any of the agreement provisions. The potential award is either $20 in cash or a $50 Hooters gift card. The claims administrator does not require any additional information other than what is required by the submission of a valid and timely claim form.
Qualifying class members must submit a valid claim form by December 20, 2017. The judge presiding over the class action settlement case Etzel v. Hooters of America LLC, Case No. 1:15-cv-01055, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia has scheduled the final hearing on February 2, 2018. To learn what transpired at the final hearing, visit the class action website www.hoatcpasettlement.com. Access the class action settlement website to read the list of attorneys representing the class and defense counsel. The website also provides updates that inform eligible class members about any changes in the potential award.