This lawsuit alleges that Global Marketing Research Services, Inc. (“GMRS”) made calls to cellphones in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227. The Class Representatives claim that GMRS called cellphone users without their prior express consent to conduct its research surveys.
GMRS denies that it violated any laws and asserts several defenses, including that the TCPA is unconstitutional as applied, that its calls were political calls, and that it obtained prior implied consent to make such calls based on voter registration lists where the voter applicants published their cell numbers.
In a class action, one or more named plaintiffs called Class Representatives (in these three cases, Robert Martin, Kristin Armstrong, Nicole Zilveti, and Alicia Thompson) sue on behalf of a group or a “class” of people who have similar claims. In a class action, the court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who may request to be excluded from the Class.
Judge Gregory A. Presnell of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida is overseeing this case. The case is known as Martin v. Global Marketing Research Services Inc. 6:14-cv-1290-ORL-31-KRS. The settlement also resolves two other lawsuits: (1) Thompson v. Global Marketing Research Services, Inc., 2:15-cv-03576-AB which was filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and has since been transferred to the Middle District of Florida as Case No. 6:16-cv-306-Orl-31DAB, and (2) Zilveti v. Global Marketing Research Services, Inc., 3:15-cv-02494-KAW, in the Northern District of California. The persons who sued are called the Plaintiffs/Class Representatives. The Defendant in all three cases is GMRS.Top
The Court has not decided who is right or whether the Plaintiffs or the Defendant would win the case. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement. That way, they avoid the uncertainties and expenses associated with ongoing litigation, and Class Members will get compensation now rather than years from now, if at all.Top
You are in the Settlement Class if you received cellphone call from GMRS from August 11, 2010 to December 31, 2014. For the full definition of the Settlement Class, please see the Settlement Agreement, which is available at the Case Documents link above.Top
Defendant has agreed to pay a collective Settlement Fund of up to $10,000,000. The cost to send notice to the Class and administer the Settlement as well as attorneys’ fees and payments to the Class Representatives will come out of this amount (see Question 11). The amount remaining after deducting these costs will be used to pay the claims of eligible Class Members who submit valid claims up to the full amount of $15.00, and reduced pro rata if there are insufficient funds, based on the costs above and the number of claims, to make full payment.
Protection from Future Unauthorized Messages: GMRS has agreed to use commercially reasonable efforts to not in the future make autodialed calls to cellphone users who have not given their prior express consent to receive such calls from GMRS.
Removal Request: The Claim Form will provide you an opportunity to remove your cell phone number from the GMRS database of cell phone numbers to which calls could be made by or on behalf of GMRS.
The Settlement Fund exhausts Defendant’s insurance policies. Class Counsel has confirmed that neither Defendant nor its insurer can meaningfully contribute further to the Settlement Funds and that the Class is receiving access to the maximum amount available from any available source.Top
If you are a member of the Class and the Court gives final approval to the Settlement, you may be entitled to receive up to $15.00. The exact amount of your payment may be less than $15.00 and will depend on the total number of valid claims that are filed. The Class is estimated to include approximately 688,500 cellphone users. Your payment may be reduced if the amount required to pay all valid claims made by Settlement Class Members exceeds the amount available in the Fund, and in such event each Class Member who filed a valid claim shall receive a reduced pro rata payment amount.
You may only make one claim, regardless of how many calls were received by your cellphone.Top
You should receive a check from the settlement administrator within 60-90 days after the Settlement has been finally approved and any appeals have been resolved in favor of the Settlement. The hearing to consider the final fairness of the Settlement is scheduled for August 16, 2016. All checks will expire and become void 90 days after they are issued.Top
If you are a Class Member and you want to participate in the Settlement, you must complete and submit a Claim Form, under penalty of perjury, by September 30, 2016. Claim Forms will be available starting April 28, 2016. You can submit a Claim Form at the Claim Form link above. A printed version of the Claim Form can be found at the Case Documents link above or by calling, toll free, 1-844-206-5863. The Claim Form can be submitted online or by mail.
There is only one claim per cellphone number. Only the person whose name appears on the billing statements of the wireless account or the primary user for the phone at which the calls at issue were received can submit a Claim Form.
We also encourage you to submit your claim electronically. Not only is it easier and more secure, but it is completely free and takes only minutes!Top
If the Settlement becomes final, you will give up your right to sue GMRS for the claims being resolved by this Settlement. The specific claims you are giving up against GMRS are described in Section 3 of the Settlement Agreement. You will be “releasing” the Defendant and all related people as described in Sections 1.2 and 1.40 of the Settlement Agreement. Unless you exclude yourself (see Question 12), you are “releasing” the claims, regardless of whether you submit a claim or not. The Settlement Agreement is available at the Case Documents link above. The Settlement Agreement describes the released claims with specific descriptions, so read it carefully. If you have any questions you can talk to Class Counsel listed in Questions 10 and 15 for free or you can, of course, talk to your own lawyer if you have questions about what this means.Top
If you do nothing, you won’t get any payment from this Settlement. But, unless you exclude yourself, you won’t be able to sue the Defendant for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.Top
The Court has appointed Steven Woodrow and Patrick Peluso of Woodrow & Peluso, LLC, and Stefan Coleman of the Law Offices of Stefan Coleman, LLC to be the lead attorneys representing the Settlement Class. They are called “Class Counsel.” They believe, after conducting an extensive investigation, that the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, and in the best interests of the Settlement Class. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer in this case, you may hire one at your expense. You may also enter an appearance though an attorney if you so desire.Top
The Parties have agreed that Class Counsel is entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees to be determined by the Court. Class Counsel will file a Motion for Reasonable Attorneys’ Fees and for Reimbursement of Expenses. The Defendant has reserved its right to object to the amount sought. Both Class Counsel’s Motion for Reasonable Attorneys’ Fees and for Reimbursement of Expenses and any objections of the Defendant will be posted on the Settlement Website. Under the Settlement Agreement, any amount awarded to Class Counsel will be paid out of the Settlement Fund.
Additionally, and also subject to approval by the Court, Defendant has agreed to pay $5,000 to each of the four Class Representatives ($20,000 total) from the Settlement Fund for their services in helping to litigate and settle this case.Top
To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a letter (or request for exclusion) by mail stating that you want to be excluded from the settlement in Martin v. Global Marketing Research Services Inc., 6:14-cv-1290-ORL-31-KRS. Your letter or request for exclusion must also include your name, your address, the phone number that received the relevant cellphone calls, the approximate year you received such cell call(s), and your signature. You must mail your exclusion request so that it is postmarked no later than July 15, 2016 to:
Martin v. Global Marketing Research
P.O. Box 30215
College Station, TX 77842-3215
The Court will exclude from the Class any Class Member who timely and properly requests exclusion.Top
No. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue GMRS for the claims being resolved by this Settlement.Top
No. If you exclude yourself, you will not receive consideration for payment of any settlement amount and you should not submit a Claim Form to ask for benefits.Top
If you are a valid Class Member, you can object to the Settlement if you don’t like any part of it. You can give reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must send a letter stating that you object to the Settlement in Martin v. Global Marketing Research Services Inc., 6:14-cv-1290-ORL-31-KRS and identify all your reasons for your objections (including citations to any legal authorities and supporting evidence) and attach any materials you rely on for your objections. Your letter objection must also include your name, your address, your cellular telephone number that received the telephone call(s), the approximate year in which you received such cell calls and your signature.
Class Counsel will file with the Court and post on this website its Motion for Reasonable Attorneys’ Fees and for Reimbursement of Expenses at least two weeks prior to the objection deadline.
If you want to appear and speak at the Final Approval Hearing to object to the Settlement, with or without a lawyer (explained below in answer to Question Number 19), you must say so in your objection. You must mail your objection to the following four different places postmarked no later than July 15, 2016:
|Court||Class Counsel||Class Counsel||Defense Counsel|
The Honorable Gregory Presnell
Steven Woodrow, Esq.
Stefan Coleman, Esq.
Steven G. Schwartz, Esq.
Objecting simply means telling the Court that you don’t like something about the Settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself from the Class is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.Top
The Court will hold the Fairness Hearing at 9:30 A.M. on August 16, 2016 in Courtroom 5A of the US Courthouse, 401 West Central Blvd., Orlando, FL 32801. The purpose of the hearing will be for the Court to determine whether to approve the Settlement as fair, reasonable, adequate, and in the best interests of the Classes; to consider the Class Counsel’s Motion for Reasonable Attorneys’ Fees and for Reimbursement of Expenses and any objections thereto, and to consider the request for an incentive award to Class Representatives in the amount of $5,000 each. At that hearing, the Court will be available to hear any objections and arguments concerning the fairness of the Settlement.
The hearing may be postponed to a different date or time without notice, so it is a good idea to check this website periodically or call 1-844-206-5863. If, however, you timely objected to the Settlement and advised the Court that you intend to appear and speak at the Fairness Hearing, you will receive notice of any change in the date of such Fairness Hearing.Top
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection or comment, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay another lawyer to attend, but it is not required.Top
This is up to the Judge. You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must send a letter saying that it is your “Notice of Intent to Appear in Martin v. Global Marketing Research Services Inc., 6:14-cv-1290-ORL-31-KRS.” It must include your name, address, telephone number and signature as well as the name and address of your lawyer, if one is appearing for you. Your Notice of Intent to Appear must be postmarked no later than July 15, 2016, and be sent to the addresses listed in Question 15. You must also state in your objection that you plan on appearing at the hearing.Top
This website summarizes the Settlement. More details are in the full Settlement Agreement. You can get a copy of the Settlement Agreement at the Case Documents link above. You may also write with questions to the Martin v. Global Marketing Research Services, Inc. Settlement Administrator at P.O. BOX 30215, College Station, TX 77842-3215. You can call the Settlement Administrator at 1-844-206-5863 or Class Counsel at 1-720-213-0675, if you have any questions. Before doing so, however, please read the full Notice (available at the Case Documents link above) carefully.Top