Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Class Action Against Mike Huckabee Reinstated

ST. LOUIS (CN) - The Eighth Circuit has revived a class action claiming presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee was part of a group that violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
     Ron and Dorit Golan filed the class action in 2012 after receiving two unsolicited, recorded messages on their home phone in May, stating: "Liberty. This is a public survey call. We may call back later."
     Had the Golans answered, they would have heard a recorded message from Huckabee conducting an anti-Hollywood survey that asked how the person felt about "traditional American values."
     The Golans, who were among the 4 million people who received the call, claimed the survey was a guise promoting the movie, "The Last Ounce of Courage."
     They claimed the movie promoters and Huckabee violated the TCPA by placing robo calls, and sought certification of a subclass who were on the Missouri do-not-call list, but still received calls.
     The 2012 movie centers on a man named Bob Revere who feels the government and a liberal group are attacking his freedom of religion.
     A federal court dismissed the Golans' claims in 2014, finding they did not demonstrate sufficient injury to give them standing under a law designed to curb robo calls.
     A three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court reversed the decision Monday.
     Judge Diana E. Murphy wrote: "Although the campaign appeared to survey whether recipients had 'traditional American values,'" movie promoters were "more concerned with getting viewers to see 'Last Ounce of Courage' than gathering information about them."
     The Eighth Circuit also reversed the ruling that the Golans were not adequate class representatives because they didn't hear the entire survey.
     "Because the purpose of the calls is the critical issue in this case, the Golans were not subject to a unique defense," Murphy wrote. "Nor did they suffer a different injury than class members who heard the entire message. What matters for all class members, including the Golans, is that each call was initiated for the purpose of promoting 'Last Ounce of Courage.'"
     Whether Huckabee could be held vicariously liable for the calls was left for the district court to consider.
     Judges Bobby E. Shepherd and Timothy L. Brooks concurred.
     Huckabee, a former two-term governor of Arkansas, is seeking the Republican nomination for president. 

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