I've prosecuted, and represented, violent criminals, drug dealers, and sex offenders. What class of clients has been the most universally reviled?
It's telemarketers. Hands down.
The Federal Trade Commission's legal team, to be blunt, is not the varsity. But in pursuing telemarketers they are merciless and relentless and constantly radiating contempt for the telemarketing defendants they sue. It doesn't matter that their legal work is substandard — particularly for federal court — because federal judges tend to give them a pass. I've never seen federal judges express such open contempt for a client, and so transparently disregard a client's procedural rights and cut slack to the other side, as I have in representing telemarketers. Moreover, even though I've represented sex offenders and gang members who have shaved their eyebrows and tattooed "FUCK YOU" over their eyes, I've never felt as despised as a lawyer as I have when I represent telemarketers.
I suspect it's probably because they're such scumbags.
Case in point: you know those robocalls you've been getting on personal lines and business lines and cell phones telling you that your vehicle warranty is about to expire, and that you need to buy an extended warranty, even if your warranty isn't expiring or you don't even own a car? Yeah, big surprise, it turns out that's a scam. In addition to robocalling everyone without any basis to think the recipients of the calls actually have a car warranty about to expire, if you bite they also mislead you about their affiliation with your car manufacturer and falsely claim that their $2000 – $3000 warranty is an extension of your existing warranty, which it is not. This week the FTC dropped the hammer on a bunch of them:
The complaint filed Thursday names Florida-based Voice Touch Inc. and two of its principals, James and Maureen Dunne. It also names Illinois-based Network Foundations LLC and a principal in that company, Damian Kohlfeld.
A second complaint names Florida-based Transcontinental Warranty Inc. and company President and Chief Executive Christopher D. Cowart. The FTC was immediately unable to provide contact information for the defendants. Representatives from Transcontinental Warranty and Network Foundations weren't immediately available for comment.
You can read the complaint against Christopher Cowart and Transcontinental Warranty over here. Cowart's already having a bad month because irritated people on whocallsme.com found his personal information, including his cell number, and have been calling him to complain.
Cowart, and the other defendants, are likely to find that federal judges will permit the FTC to freeze their assets based upon a relatively incompletely and clumsily compiled showing. The judges will appoint receivers to oversee the assets; these receivers are generally eager to please the FTC in order to get appointed again and again, and make some very nice coin over the whole process. Then, stripped of most of their assets, the defendants will be left to litigate on the cheap, finding that the judges will cut breaks to the FTC and hammer the defendants at every opportunity.
As an attorney, and someone concerned with constitutional rights and government power, I recognize intellectually that it's a bad thing when we single out any person or group and treat their procedural and substantive rights as less valuable than everyone else's. First they came for the telemarketers, and I said nothing, and so forth.
But since they're telemarketers, I'd be lying if I said I felt a lot of empathy.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Department of Justice Uses Search Warrant To Get Data On Visitors to Anti-Trump Site - August 14th, 2017
- America At The End of All Hypotheticals - August 14th, 2017
- Lawsplainer: Why John Oliver Is Anti-Diversity Now - August 11th, 2017
- Anatomy of a Scam, Chapter 15: The Wheels, They Grind - August 10th, 2017
- We Interrupt This Grand Jury Lawsplainer For A Search Warrant Lawsplainer - August 9th, 2017