A federal judge in the Middle District of North Carolina chose not to enter the full $61 million judgment against Dish Network for illegal telemarketing calls. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Eagles chose to not enter the final judgment for Dish Network on Wednesday, and said though the illegal telemarketing calls were undoubtedly made, Dish should still be able to assess and potentially appeal each claim individually before paying out.
Judge Eagles considered a judgment in the full amount “inappropriate,” due to some of the class members still being unidentified and Dish having no chance, as of yet, to challenge any phone number (class member) identifications. Judge Eagles noted that “in a class action not resolved by settlement, a defendant who will ultimately pay damages to class members has a right to participate in claims administration and to object and oppose any unfounded or incorrect claim” (interior quotations omitted; Krakauer v. Dish Network, LLC.).
The award would have gone to the over 50,000 people who were contacted by Dish Network telemarketers despite being on the National Do Not Call Registry. Dish was previously found to have acted in willful and knowing violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. In January, a jury awarded $400 to each individual on the list who was contacted, but Judge Eagles then upped the individual award to $1,200, totaling the award to roughly $61 million, citing the importance of giving “suitable weight to the seriousness and scope” of Dish’s actions.