California Children's Hospital Hit With TCPA Action

By Shayna Posses

Law360, New York (February 9, 2017, 1:12 PM EST) -- Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego was slapped with a proposed class action in California federal court Wednesday alleging that the pediatric medical center violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act with autodialed debt-collection calls to consumers' cellphones.

Taneesha Crooks and Anthony Brown allege that they received a number of autodialed calls from Rady to their cellphones, even after their attorney sent cease and desist letters urging the pediatric medical center to leave the two alone.

"Defendant, either directly or through their agents, illegally contacted plaintiffs and the class members via their cellular telephones by using an ATDS, thereby causing plaintiffs and the class members to incur certain cellular telephone charges or reduce cellular telephone time for which plaintiffs and the class members previously paid, and invading the privacy of said plaintiffs and the class members," the complaint says. "Plaintiffs and the class members were damaged thereby."

Brown says medical practice foundation Rady Children's Specialists started calling his cellphone on or before April 11, 2016, using an automatic telephone dialing system and an artificial or prerecorded voice, trying to collect on an outstanding debt.

The Law Office of Daniel Shay then faxed and mailed cease and desist letters to the hospital's multiple locations, revoking any prior express consent Brown might have given and explaining that Brown had retained the firm to stop creditor harassment and discharge the claim through bankruptcy, the complaint says.

The attorney followed up with phone calls and received a fax confirming receipt of the cease and desist letters several days later, Brown says.

But, the complaint alleges, the calls didn't stop. On Dec. 23, Brown picked up a call from Rady and was reminded by an artificial or prerecorded message about the existence of the alleged debt, he contends.

Crooks faced a similar situation, with Rady continuing to call her after Shay sent over cease and desist letters and faxes revoking any consent she might have given to those sorts of calls, the complaint says.

The pair alleges that Rady invaded their privacy in violation of the TCPA with the autodialed calls that

weren't for emergency purposes without their prior express consent. The calls also cost the consumers money, frustrated them and tied up their phones, the complaint alleges.

Crooks and Brown seek to represent a proposed class of the thousands of people in the United States who received nonemergency calls from Rady to their cellphones using an autodialer or prerecorded message within the last four years.

The consumers seek damages and injunctive relief for alleged negligent and willful violations of the TCPA.

A representative for Brown and Crooks declined to comment Thursday. The hospital didn't immediately return a request for comment.

Brown and Crooks are represented by Abbas Kazerounian and Jason A. Ibey of Kazerouni Law Group APC, Daniel G. Shay of the Law Office of Daniel G. Shay and Joshua B. Swigart and Yana A. Hart of Hyde & Swigart.

Counsel information for the hospital wasn't immediately available Thursday.

The suit is Taneesha Crooks et al. v. Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego, suit number 3:17-cv-00246, in the

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

--Editing by Jack Karp.