CHICAGO - A federal judge has given the nod to allow a group of plaintiffs to move forward with a class action lawsuit, potentially involving 2 million additional plaintiffs, claiming a web company that generates "leads" for the insurance industry used deceptive practices to lure customers.
On June 25, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled plaintiffs in the case have satisfied the conditions for a class action against All Web Leads Inc. (AWL), which the order said acts as a middle man between insurance agents and others in the industry and customers.
The lawsuit alleges AWL violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in connection with the collection of personal information when users access a number of sites run by the company that offer insurance quotes.
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber | ballotpedia.org
Lead plaintiffs John Karpilovsky and Jimmie Criollo claim the sites include a field that directs users to input their telephone number, resulting in them allegedly receiving calls from AWL for which they did not grant consent.
In addition, Karpilovsky and Criollo claim the requried TCPA disclosure was buried in fine print on the AWL sites.
The plaintiffs said they requested class certification to represent all those individuals contacted by AWL.
"Beyond simply setting forth a method of identifying the class members, as is required, the plaintiffs have actually identified, using call data provided by AWL, the approximately two million individuals who comprise the class," Leinenweber said in his opinion.
AWL argued that many of the individuals they contacted might have consented to the calls and therefore do not have standing to participate in a class action.
Leinenweber ruled that certification should be granted because there are enough individuals affected, they had similar experiences and a class action is the best way to resolve the dispute.
The judge also dismissed a motion by AWL asking that the expert testimony of an individual employed by the plaintiffs be excluded from the proceedings.
Plaintiffs are represented in the action by attorneys Gary M. Klinger, of the firm of Kozonis & Klinger Ltd., of Chicago, and Jonathan D. Selbin and John Tate Spragens, of the firm of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein LLP, of New York and Nashville.
AWL is represented by attorneys Saskia N. Bryan and Jeffrey H. Bunn, of Latimer LeVay Fyock LLC, of Chicago, and Kellie M. Bubeck and William E. Raney, of Copilevitz & Canter LLC, of Kansas City.