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Lawyer's Suit Over Junk Fax Settles for $1.8 Million

Fed up with all the junk faxes he was receiving from New Jersey auctioneer Metropolitan Antiques, Boston solo Evan Fray-Witzer decided to strike back. In 2002, he became the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against Metropolitan asserting that the unsolicited faxes violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. As it turned out, most of the other members of the class were also Massachusetts lawyers. Discovery revealed that Metropolitan had purchased a database of lawyers' fax numbers and targeted them from 2001 to 2003 with advertisements for estate sales.

Now, after six years of litigation -- including a hard-fought appeal to the state's highest court over applicability of the defendant's insurance coverage -- the trial judge has preliminarily approved a settlement of the case worth $1.8 million. Of that, the two lawyers who represented the plaintiffs, Matthew P. McCue of Framingham and Edward A. Broderick of Boston, will share $600,000 in attorneys' fees plus costs and interest. The remainder of more than $1 million will be available to pay members of the class. It will be divided equally among class members up to a maximum payout of $1,500 each, with the final amount contingent on the number of claims filed.

Anyone who may be a member of the class can check by going to the settlement's Web site, www.metrojunkfaxsettlement.com  and searching for his or her fax number. The site also has full information on how to file a claim, which must be done by Sept. 12.

As for Fray-Witzer -- the lawyer who received one too many junk faxes -- as a class representative, he will receive payment of $15,000. Even better, he will bask in the certainty that no one will ever again dare send him a junk fax. Now if he could only do something about all that spam e-mail.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on July 8, 2008 at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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