Jonathan Bilyk Sep. 2, 2016, 4:10pm

A Chicago man has hit CVS with a class action lawsuit, saying the drug store giant, which recently purchased all of Target’s retail pharmacies, should be made to pay out for allegedly calling former Target pharmacy customers, without their consent, using automated messages to remind the customers to take prescription medications or pick up prescription refills at CVS.

On Aug. 31, plaintiff Richard O’Hern filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against CVS Pharmacy Inc., alleging CVS broke federal telecommunications laws by calling him on his mobile phone without his authorization, as the retailer may have done to perhaps thousands of others.

O’Hern is represented in the action by attorneys with the firm of Edelson P.C., of Chicago.

The lawsuit does not specify the amount of money O’Hern is demanding. But the lawsuit noted the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act allows for statutory damages of as much as $1,500 per unauthorized automated call.

According to the complaint, O’Hern said he had opted to use Target’s retail pharmacy to obtain his prescription medications, choosing the retailer specifically because Target “did not insist on regularly calling him.”

The lawsuit noted CVS, like other retail pharmacists, have a practice of sending automated messages to prescription medication users, purportedly remind them to properly take their medication, to remind them to pick up available prescriptions or to ask them to refill their prescriptions and other medications at CVS.

O’Hern said he had specifically instructed Target to never contact him on his mobile phone. The complaint said Target abided by that request.

However, in December 2015, CVS completed its acquisition of all of Target’s pharmacies nationwide. That acquisition included all contact information for all of Target’s former pharmacy customers.

In the months since, O’Hern said he has received repeated calls and messages from CVS, despite his “specific do-not-call instructions on file” with his customer records.

“Most of these calls were automated sales calls that were intended to badger plaintiff (O’Hern) into purchasing his prescriptions from CVS as opposed to some other pharmacy,” the complaint said. “None of these calls were for any sort of emergency, and none allowed for automated opt-outs through key-press or interactive voice commands.”

O’Hern said he personally traveled to a Chicago CVS store and “told the employees there to stop calling” his mobile phone. He said the employees showed him his customer file, which purportedly included his do-not-call instructions.

He alleged CVS then increased the frequency with which they called him.

And he said further calls also included specific medical information.

“(O’Hern) knows, both by date and by count, when he needs refills, and is entirely capable of managing his own medication schedules and of deciding for himself where to shop,” the complaint said. “Plaintiff does not need or desire to receive or pay for automated pharmacy calls that interrupt his day and consume his limited cellular telephone minutes.”

The lawsuit asked the court to approve classes of additional plaintiffs of former Target pharmacy customers who may have similarly received similar unwanted phone calls from CVS. Additional plaintiffs would include any U.S. residents who “received prescription ‘reminder’ call sent by or on behalf of CVS” on a mobile phone, and had previously been on Target’s pharmacy do-not-call lists.

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Organizations in this Story

Edelson PC
350 N LaSalle St Suite 1300
Chicago, IL 60654

CVS/Caremark, Inc.
One CVS Drive
Woonsocket, RI 02895

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