CHARLESTON – A multidistrict litigation proceeding has been created in West Virginia federal court.

On Dec. 16, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation created MDL No. 2493 to handle claims against Monitronics International, a home security system and alarm monitoring company.

Lawsuits against Monitronics allege the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act when it had employees place telemarketing calls to persons on the national Do Not Call Registry or to residential or wireless telephones without the individual’s consent.

Also named as defendants in the claims are Versatile Marketing Systems, UTFC Fire and Security Americas Corporation, Honeywell International and ISI Alarms NC.

Presiding over the MDL will be Judge Irene M. Keeley, of the Northern District of West Virginia.

“These actions share common factual allegations regarding Monitronics’ policies and procedures for calling consumers, directly or through agents, for the purpose of selling home security products or services, as well as its procedures for obtaining and recording a consumer’s consent to receive such calls,” wrote John G. Heyburn II, chairman of the Judicial Panel.

“Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings (on class certification and other matters); and conserve the resources of the parties, their counsel and the judiciary. Centralization also is consistent with our prior decisions involving TCPA claims.”

The order states that the Northern District of West Virginia is home to the first-filed and most-advanced o the claims. Keeley is handling that case.

In 2011, attorney John W. Barrett of Bailey & Glasser filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Diana Mey in Ohio County Circuit Court.

That lawsuit sought penalties pursuant to the TCPA in the amount of $500 for each negligent violation and $1,500 for each intentional violation. It was removed to federal court.

In August, Keeley denied the defendants’ motions for summary judgment. They had argued they are “manufacturers” and not “sellers,” and therefore not subject to the TCPA.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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