A Mississippi woman filed a class-action complaint last week in Chicago’s federal court against finance company First Tower Loan LLC for allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. 

Shirley Williams asserts she took out a loan in 2012 from a First Tower location in Hollandale, Miss. The company eventually began making automated calls to her about collecting on an alleged debt. Williams states that she never gave prior consent for the calls and in February told First Tower by phone to stop calling her cell phone. After that date, she still received six “harassing and unsolicited” calls, according to the complaint.   Williams believes there are at least hundreds of thousands of people who also have received similar calls from First Tower, according to The Cook County (Ill.) Record. She is seeking class-action status, arguing it isn’t practical for each person to file a suit against First Tower. It isn’t clear how she came up with the “hundreds of thousands” estimate. The lawsuit notes damages in the case are likely to exceed $5 million. It specifically alleges First Tower negligently violated the TCPA (listed as count one) and "knowingly and willingly” did so (listed as count two).
Williams seeks $500 for herself and every member of the class action for each TCPA violation. She’s also seeking $1,500 for herself and every member for each time the company “knowingly and willingly” committed a violation. Williams also seeks attorney fees in the event of a class recovery and costs. 
Williams also has asked the court to ban First Tower from making further calls that violate the law and require the company to preserve any materials, such as recordings, documents and emails that relate to the allegations. First Tower has more than 180 branches in five states.

Salas & Wang of Chicago and the San Diego firm of Ronald A. Marron are representing Williams. The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. A status hearing, set for Sept. 15, will determine if the attorneys believe a settlement is possible, according to court documents.  

 

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