Violate the TCPA and End Up in Handcuffs?: Telemarketer to be Arrested for Failing to Stop Unlawful Calls
What can happen when you turn a deaf ear to a court order to cease illegal calls to consumers advertising your carpet cleaning business? The answer is the court can call you on its own carpet in handcuffs for potential civil contempt. That is the message of State of Texas v. Kevin J. Calvin, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22245, CA No. 4:14-cv-00654-O, United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, filed January 6, 2020.
Mr. Calvin was among a group of defendants that the State of Texas sued for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), in his case for telemarketing calls about his carpet cleaning business. After his “no show” before the bench, the Court granted the State’s motion for default judgment, ordered that it recover damages and attorneys’ fees, and “entered a permanent injunction ordering the defendants to cease their illegal telephone marketing activities….” At the end of April 2019, Mr. Calvin, by affidavit, “testified” that he had received and read the Court’s orders doing so.
But did Mr. Calvin get the message? Lesson learned? Apparently, not so.
Two months later, in June of 2019, the State asked Judge Reed O’Connor to order Mr. Calvin to show cause as to why he should not be held in contempt because those illegal carpet cleaning telemarketing calls persisted. The Court agreed he should be called to task and ordered Calvin to respond by July 15. The State used all manner of communications – including Facebook Messenger – to serve the directive on the defendant. Silence ensued – another no show.
After Judge O’Connor referred the matter to Magistrate Judge Hal Ray, he issued a second show cause order, summoning the offender to a hearing in early November of 2019. Again, service through various channels. Again, no Mr. Calvin.
Enough is enough. Magistrate Judge Ray found that Mr. Calvin had violated the terms of the permanent injunction and recommended that the Court, “once Kevin J. Calvin is arrested or at such other time as set by Judge O’Connor,” hold a hearing as to why the defendant should not be found in civil contempt.
Just last week, on February 7, the Judge agreed and ordered the elusive Mr. Calvin “to surrender to the custody of the United States Marshall service.” If he does not, “the United States Marshall Service or any duly authorized law enforcement officer is ordered to arrest the Defendant and produce him before” the Court.
Such can be the consequences in TCPAWorld of thumbing your nose at a Court injunction to “stop calling.”