Dish Network can’t get North Carolina judge to overturn $61M telemarketing decision

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A federal judge in North Carolina has refused to set aside or a reduce a $61 million judgment against Dish Network for violating telemarketing rules. 

In January, a jury decided to give $400 to each individual on a registry impacted by a Dish telemarketing campaign. Dish was accused of illegally robocalling these consumers. 

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina Judge Catherine C. Eagles ruled in May that the award should be increased to $1,200 per person. That tripled the amount of money Dish must pay 50,000 state residents who were deemed to have been impacted by the campaign. 

RELATED: Dish Network faces payout of as much as $60M for illegal robocalls

Dish had been seeking what is known in the legal world as “remittitur.” Over the summer, the struggling satellite operator was billed around $280 million in an Illinois federal court for telemarketing violations. Combining the two cases resulted in an excessive damages claim, Dish argued. That would have trimmed the bill by around $40 million. 

In her ruling last week, reported by legal trade journal Law360, Eagles said Dish compromised that claim by earlier arguing that its North Carolina case was different than the one in Illinois. 

“Because the treble damages awarded are neither excessive nor duplicative in any meaningful way, Dish is not entitled to remittitur,” the judge said.

The North Carolina case was initiated in 2014 by plaintiff Thomas Krakauer, a Do Not Call Registry denizen who claims he was repeatedly called by an authorized dealer for Dish, Satellite Systems Network, between 2009 to 2011. 

“The treble damages are not ‘grossly excessive,’ but necessary for deterrence in light of Dish’s actions,” Judge Eagles said.

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