Court of Appeals approves $459 million trial verdict

Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals approved the $459 million trial verdict that we obtained on behalf of more than 300,000 Atlanta-area individuals and businesses against a firm that engaged in illegal junk faxing. The $459 million judgment is the largest in Georgia history.

The Court of Appeals vacated the judgment on technical grounds, instructing the trial court to re-enter the judgment in a different format. It did this because the trial court did not enter its judgment in the required format. The Court of Appeals, however, rejected all substantive arguments that the junk faxer raised to try to overturn the trial court’s judgment. Thus, once the trial court corrects the technical error, the judgment against the junk faxer will stand.

Of course, the junk faxer has announced that it intends to try to appeal the Court of Appeals’ decision.

American Home Services, Inc., a vinyl-siding business, sent hundreds of thousands of junk faxes to individuals and businesses throughout metro Atlanta. Fed up with junk faxes tying up its phone line and wasting its paper and toner, a business hired us to help put a stop to it. We persuaded the trial court to certify the case as a class action, and that decision was upheld in an earlier appeal.

Junk faxing is illegal. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law on the books since 1991, imposes statutory damages of $500 per fax, which can be increased to $1,500 per fax for willful or knowing violations of the law. American Home Services sent a lot of junk faxes, hence the $459 million judgment.

In a separate lawsuit filed by the junk faxer’s insurance company, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the junk faxer’s insurance policy provides coverage for the class’s claims.