Law Firms Accused of Violating Federal Telemarketing Law in Camp Lejeune Litigation

September 18, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Law Firms Accused of Violating Federal Telemarketing Law in Camp Lejeune Litigation

September has proven highly consequential for the ongoing Camp Lejeune multidistrict litigation in North Carolina. After late-August procedural and scheduling disagreements between the Justice Department and the co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, the DOJ and the Department of the Navy introduced a new Elective Option in an eleventh-hour bid to streamline the processing of Camp Lejeune administrative claims to avoid the expansion of the litigation.

However, allegations that personal injury law firms relied upon illicit telemarketing campaigns to field clients threaten to undermine the credibility of other participants in the MDL. With at least one federal judge rejecting requests to dismiss a plaintiff’s complaint, the legal landscape may soon prove considerably more complex. 

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) Standards

At the center of the mounting telemarketing controversy surrounding the recruitment drives for Camp Lejeune lawsuits is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Congress passed the TCPA in 1991 to prevent inappropriate or excessive phone-based advertising or marketing campaigns. 

It primarily addresses “automatic telephone dialing systems and artificial or prerecorded voice messages”. One of the mechanisms that the 1992 Congress implemented to bolster the TCPA was the creation of mandatory do-not-call lists, upon which the FCC, alongside the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), expanded to establish a nationwide registry of prohibited numbers. 

Monitoring interstate and intrastate telemarketing campaigns, the FTC ensures that individuals are not bombarded with unwanted calls and imposes steep penalties for offenses. The most recent iteration of the TCPA faults convicted offenders up to $1,500 per call or text. When considered alongside the tendency of telemarketers to employ robocalls or automatic dialing systems, a series of unwanted communications could quickly balloon into a sizable fine. 

Plaintiffs in TCPA Lawsuits Propose Class Action Litigation

Some of the 20 TCPA lawsuits filed against prominent law firms collectively representing hundreds of Camp Lejeune plaintiffs have requested the creation of a class action lawsuit to address their cases. This extraordinary proposal could prove to be tremendously disruptive for the accused law firms if accepted by the courts. 

In contrast to multidistrict litigation (MDL), like that organizing the Camp Lejeune claims, class action lawsuits permit an individual or group of individuals to file suit on behalf of a legal “class”, defined by a common injury from a common defendant. Class action lawsuits are intended to address a multitude of cases with minimal procedural complication and consolidate them for both pretrial and trial phases, which means that any settlement sum or judgment money is paid to a collective, legally established “class”. 

Diana Mey, who filed suit against Levin Law on February 14, alleged that she was subjected to a torrent of illicit phone calls from telemarketers working as third-party contractors of the accused law firm. The West Virginia native emphasized that she is listed on the federal do-not-call list, which the U.S. FTC oversees, and was therefore illegally harangued in violation of the TCPA. 

Levin Papantonio Rafferty sought to get the lawsuit dismissed but failed to convince a federal judge that Mey’s claims were meritless. Her lawyer, Ryan Donovan, told Reuters that “wherever there is money to be made through telemarketing, there seems to always be someone willing to break the law.”

Camp Lejeune Counsel Deny Wrongdoing While Others Quietly Settle

Although the majority of the accused firms deny guilt and are feverishly filing claims rejecting the legitimacy of the TCPA lawsuits, others are going another route by defending their reputations while seeking to settle the outstanding cases quietly. Reuters’s investigative reporting uncovered that the national law firm Keller Postman had, almost undetectably, settled three cases earlier in the year. 

The accessed court records do not disclose the precise sum of the settlement payout, which would reveal approximately how extensive the alleged telemarketing campaigns actually were.  Nonetheless, Keller Postman maintains that it has “acted lawfully at all times and will continue to do so”. As one of the most prominent law firms participating in the Camp Lejeune multidistrict litigation in Jacksonville North Carolina, Keller Postman currently represents around 300 plaintiffs. 

Multidistrict Litigation for Growing Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

The TCPA lawsuits explicitly address the extensive marketing campaigns that major personal injury law firms have undertaken to field clients for the Camp Lejeune personal injury litigation.

At the moment, 1,100 cases have been consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in a Camp Lejeune multidistrict litigation. The vast majority of the plaintiffs filed suit against the federal government after the failure of the Department of the Navy (DON) to process their administrative claims in a timely manner, pursuant to the requirements established in the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) of August 2022. 

Department of the Navy Slow to Address Camp Lejeune Administrative Claims 

Ratified in tandem with the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT), the CLJA created a procedural guideline for the compensation of injuries associated with toxic chemical exposure at Camp Lejeune. Aside from establishing a minimum 30-day period of residence between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, victims of Camp Lejeune water pollution must file an administrative claim with the DON. A failure to reach a settlement figure or a nonresponse from the DON for a period of 6 months qualifies an individual to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit against the federal government. 

Unfortunately, the Department of the Navy failed to address the tens of thousands of claims that it received, and, unintentionally, prompted the filing of hundreds of Camp Lejeune lawsuits. Only in September 2023 did the DON, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, promulgate a selective set of criteria, known as the Camp Lejeune Elective Option, to expedite outstanding and incoming claims. 

For context, Reuters cites a startling figure presented by X Ante, a firm which researches mass tort litigation, stating that personal injury law firms have, in total, spent around $130 million in advertising for Camp Lejeune litigation. Although the majority of law firms act in good faith to showcase their services to prospective clients, the current allegations are a disturbing reminder of the potential extensive litigation has to incentivize, at times, unethical or illegal advertisements. 

Contact Dolman Law Group For Help With Your Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

At Dolman Law Group, PA, we believe that the victims of toxic chemical exposure at Camp Lejeune deserve justice, and deserve justice soon. That is why our experienced Camp Lejeune mass tort lawyers are prepared to offer their services on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we deliver. 

With free consultations and individualized treatment, we pride ourselves in tending respectfully to all of our prospective and current clients. We can help you determine the viability of your case and potential eligibility for either the recently proposed Elective Option or a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. 

You may not be able to change the past, but you can safeguard your future. If you resided on Camp Lejeune for a minimum period of 30 days and subsequently developed symptoms of Camp Lejeune water contamination, consider contacting Dolman Law Group today. 

Dolman Law Group Personal Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

800 North Belcher Road

Clearwater, FL 33765

(727) 451-6900

Local Personal Injury Lawyer


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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