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Harassing Calls From Hospital Spark Class Action Lawsuit

— February 27, 2017

Taneesha Crooks and Anthony Brown filed a class action lawsuit against Rady Children’s hospital, stating that they received harassing phone calls.

Telemarketing calls can get irritating, and debt collectors can certainly be ruthless.  If one’s information is leaked, the number of calls received can be overwhelming.  And, it can be especially frustrating if one has paid a debt, but records aren’t kept up to date, so the calls keep flooding in despite efforts to get these to stop.  In this day and age, especially after the recession, companies do not take outstanding debts lightly.  But, when do mere reminder calls become downright harassing?

Taneesha Crooks and Anthony Brown of San Diego filed a class action lawsuit against a local hospital, stating that they received harassing phone calls which violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  The act was passed by the United States Congress in 1991 and limits the use of automatic dialing systems, artificial or prerecorded voice messages, SMS text message, and fax machines.  It also states that several technical requirements for fax machines, auto-dialers, and voice messaging systems — with provisions requiring identification and contact information of the entity using the device to be contained in the messages.

Image Courtesy of Blue Valley Telemarketing
Image Courtesy of Blue Valley Telemarketing

The complaints were initially filed individually.  On February 8th, the suit against Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego was presented to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, claiming the hospital had communicated to the individuals illegally, invading their privacy.  The calls, according to the lawsuit, had caused the plaintiffs to suffer from anxiety and stress related to paranoia induced by their invasion of privacy and the sheer number of unexpected calls received.  The purpose of the hospital’s system was to collect the plaintiff’s debt and their information was already in their records.   The calls were placed to those with outstanding bills by an automatic telephone dialing system using either a fake or a prerecorded voice, and the system would leave harassing or abusive voice messages if the receiver didn’t pick up.  The plaintiffs had put in repeated requests for the service to stop, paying off the outstanding bills, without luck.  Their phones kept ringing despite these efforts.

Image Courtesy of Rady Children's Hospital
Image Courtesy of Rady Children’s Hospital

The plaintiffs and their attorneys, Abbas Kazerounian and Jason A. Ibey of Costa Mesa’s Kazerouni Law Group APC, Daniel G. Shay of Law Office of Daniel G. Shay in San Diego and Joshue B. Swigart and Yana A. Hart of Hyde & Swigart in San Diego, seek all of the following in a resolution: a trial by jury, certify the case as a class action, designate class representative and counsel, injunctive relief, $500 in statutory damages for every violation, $1,500 in statutory damages for every knowing violation, and all equitable relief. The case is known as U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California Case number 17-cv-00246.

The hospital has also been under heat for discriminatory treatment of a transgender teenager back in September.  The patient’s mother took her son to the hospital in early April 2015 for suicidal ideation and to treat his serious self-inflicted injuries.  The mother claims she made it perfectly clear to the staff that her son must be treated as male for all purposes.  However, the hospital repeatedly referred to him as female.  The lawsuit was field in September 2016.  


Two sue children’s hospital over phone calls

Family Sues Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego for Discriminatory Treatment of Transgender Teenager

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