US appeals court upholds Dish Network robocall violations

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CHICAGO — A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court judgment and injunction against Dish Network for illegal phone calls to people on the Do Not Call Registry.

The Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found Friday that Dish Network is responsible for the robocalls because its retailers were acting as Dish’s agents. And it rejected a claim by Dish that penalties for the conduct are unconstitutionally excessive.

The case returns to the trial court for calculation of penalties and damages, according to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

The Illinois attorney general joined the Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general of California, North Carolina and Ohio in a 2009 lawsuit against Dish. It claimed Dish violated federal telemarketing laws by calling individuals listed on the national Do Not Call Registry and by using a prerecorded voice to place calls to residences without the residents’ permission.

After a five-week trial in 2017, the U.S. District Court for Illinois’ central district found Dish liable for more than 97 million violations and imposed fines of $280 million. The court at the time directed $17 million to Illinois.

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