Telecommunications Fraud Prevention
Telecommunications fraud is a major issue that impacts telecommunications companies and consumers. Mr. Weiss helped pioneer strategies to combat these problems. Carlton Fields is the only law firm in the country with a dedicated team working across the industry in this area.
As part of these efforts, Mr. Weiss first-chaired prosecutions of dozens of claims on behalf of several major wireless telephone services providers in litigation throughout the United States involving claims to combat retail subsidy fraud; intellectual property violations; and other fraud prevention matters.
Mr. Weiss obtained awards for his clients that total over a quarter of a billion dollars against hundreds of defendants. Many of the telecommunications fraud prevention victories he helped his clients achieve are profiled at: http://www.stopcellphonetrafficking.com/enforcement.
Mr. Weiss’ most notable awards on behalf of his clients in this area include:
- TracFone Wireless, Inc. v. GCA Electronics, LLC, 950 F. Supp. 2d 1326 (N.D. Ga. 2013) (awarding our client more than $7.7 million in monetary sanctions against the defendant).
- TracFone Wireless, Inc. v. Technopark Co., 313 F.R.D. 680, 690 (S.D. Fla. 2016) (determining that Hong Kong based company was in contempt for continued sale of cell phone unlocking and awarding our client $1 million in contempt damages).
- T-Mobile USA, Inc. v. Begum, 2011 WL 4090930 (E.D.N.Y. August 17, 2011) (granting final judgment and permanent injunction in our client's favor arising from improper resale of cellphones and SIM cards).
- TracFone Wireless, Inc. v. Holden Prop. Servs., LLC, 2014 WL 3585711, at *1 (S.D. Fla. July 21, 2014) (awarding our client $839,775 in monetary sanctions against the defendant in scheme involving improper resale of cell phone airtime cards that were illegally cloned) and TracFone Wireless, Inc. v. LaMarsh, 98 F. Supp. 3d 828, 832 (W.D. Pa. 2015) (ordering U.S. Marshal to auction off the defendant's property to allow our client to satisfy its judgment).
- MagicJack LP v. JoiPhone, LLC, 2009 WL 10664672, at *1 (S.D. Fla Aug. 19, 2009) (Obtained judgment in favor of leading VOIP phone provided against a Singapore based company involved in a fraudulent scheme).
Telecommunications Class Actions
- Counseled the leading prepaid mobile telephone service provider, resolving four consolidated class action cases and an FTC enforcement action relating to its product advertisements; Helped negotiate one of the first-ever joint resolutions between a private civil class action and an FTC enforcement action. In re TracFone Unlimited Serv. Plan Litig., 112 F. Supp. 3d 993, 997 (N.D. Cal. 2015).
- Lead Florida trial and appellate counsel in defending a national mobile service provider in class action alleging that retailer overcharged sales tax. MetroPCS Communications, Inc., v. Porter, 114 So. 3d 348 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2013).
- Lead counsel in class action filed against prepaid cell phone company alleging violations of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act - 15 U.S.C. § 1693. Gamroth v. TracFone, Case No. 12-cv-187 (E.D. Wis. 2012) (case voluntarily dismissed).
Telephone Consumer Protection Act Litigation
Litigation involving the federal TCPA has increased dramatically in the last several years. While many firms across the country have only recently fielded teams in this area, Mr. Weiss has been involved in TCPA cases filed as early as 2009. Many of the cases he litigated have involved issues of first impression. His notable TCPA cases include:
- Obtained dismissal of TCPA claim based on argument that allegations relating to autodialing were implausible. McGinity v. TracFone Wireless, Inc., 5 F. Supp. 3d 1337 (M.D. Fla. 2014).
- Obtained decision finding TCPA claims subject to contractual jury trial waiver. Newton v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., 2013 WL 5854520 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 30, 2013).
- Obtained order finding TCPA claims subject to arbitration. Levingston v. TracFone Wireless, Inc., 13-cv-08265, slip.op. (D. Ariz. Feb. 28, 2014).
- Obtained dismissal of TCPA claims where plaintiff sought recovery for pre-recorded voice calls while alleging they spoke with a live person from defendant's company. Duran v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 878 F. Supp. 2d 1312 (S.D. Fla. 2012).
- Obtained order clarifying rules governing consent to be called on a cellphone under the TCPA).Gray v. Morgan Drexen, Inc., 2014 WL 2573227, at *3 (M.D. Fla. June 9, 2014).
- Obtained order of first impression establishing standards for asserting third-party claims in TCPA cases. Osorio v. State Farm Bank, F.S.B., 278 F.R.D. 671, 673 (S.D. Fla. 2011).
Mr. Weiss has also represented parties in multiple class action cases around the country relating to alleged TCPA violations. These representations include:
- Aqualogic, Inc. v. Sabon, Inc., 120 So. 3d 566 (Fla. 4th DCA 2013).
- Guarisma v. Adcahb, 2014 WL 3533483 (S.D. Fla. April 1, 2014).
- Legg v. Transamerica Life Ins. Co., 14-cv-61665 (S.D. Fla. 2014).
- Goebel Ins. v. Precise Payroll, LLC, 16-cv-16-4775 (E.D. Pa. 2016).
- Bloch v. TracFone Wireless Inc., 16-cv-01372 (E.D.N.Y. 2016).
- Family Care Partners v. Capellon Pharm., 16-cv-07 (N.D. Fla. 2016).
Mr. Weiss also routinely counsels business clients on TCPA compliance and counsels insurance companies on TCPA-related coverage issues.
Consumer Class Actions
Mr. Weiss also has substantial experience in consumer class action matters across a wide range of industries, including the automotive, banking, mortgage insurance, and timeshare industries. He also frequently counsels liability insurers on issues related to the resolution of class actions where their insureds are named as defendants. His notable consumer class action cases include:
- Legal counsel for leading multi-state bank in class action alleging receipt of unlawful check cashing fees. Obtained precedent setting appellate orders establishing standards for amount in controversy under Class Action Fairness Act (McDaniel v. Fifth Third Bank, 568. F. App’x 729 (11th Cir. 2014)) and dismissal of claims (McDaniel v. Fifth Third Bank, 568. F. App’x 729 (11th Cir. 2014)).
- Represented large timeshare company in putative class action removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act; defeated remand to state court and obtained dismissal of FDUTPA and related claims. Perret v. Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc., 889 F. Supp. 2d 1333 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 28, 2012) (order granting motion to dismiss and closing case).
- Represented national bank in class action matter alleging improper payday loans. Obtained order directing that case be resolved through arbitration. Gunson v. BMO Harris Bank, N.A., 43 F. Supp. 3d 1396 (S.D. Fla. 2014).
- Represented five different banks in multiple cases pending in MDL 2036 in the Southern District of Florida involving checking overdraft charges. In re Checking Account Overdraft Litig., 2011 WL 6811009, at *8 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 1, 2011).
- Represented defendant in one of the first data breach class actions in the country. Burrows v. Purchasing Power, LLC, 2013 WL 10167232, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 7, 2013).
- Represented leading multi-state bank in class action suit alleging that certain loans were improper. Obtained transfer of case to the Northern District of Ohio. Laskaris v. Fifth Third Bank, 962 F. Supp. 2d 1297 (S.D. Fla. 2013).
- Represented lender in RICO class action alleging improper practices with respect to consumer loans in Florida. Obtained dismissal of complaint. Lawrie v. Ginn Development Co., LLC, 2013 WL 222258 (Jan. 3, 2013).
- Represented several companies in M&A strike suit class action cases in the Delaware Court of Chancery. In re Netsmart Technologies, Inc. Shareholders Litigation, 924 A.2d 171 (Del. Ch. 2007).
In connection with his class action work, Mr. Weiss co-chaired the ABA Commercial & Business Litigation Committee Class Action Subcommittee.
International Telecommunications Matters
Mr. Weiss has been at the forefront of extending new methods of service of U.S. legal process to defendants. His efforts in this area have resulted in more than a dozen separate published court opinions, including:
- TracFone Wireless, Inc. v. Bequator Corp., Ltd., 717 F. Supp. 2d 1307 (S.D. Fla. 2010) (finding that service can be made to a defendant in Hong Kong by U.S. Mail).
- TracFone Wireless, Inc. v. Washington, 290 F.R.D. 686 (M.D. Fla. 2013) (service may be made to a defendant in Peru by FedEx).
- TracFone Wireless, Inc. v. Bitton, 278 F.R.D. 687 (S.D. Fla. 2013) (service may be made to a defendant in Vietnam by email).
Mr. Weiss has also published several articles and delivered CLE presentations on this topic.
General Litigation Matters
In addition to his work on specialized telecommunications law, class action, and consumer claims claims, Mr. Weiss has a broad range of experience in complex commercial matters. His notable recent representations include:
- Representing lending institutions in litigation involving enforcement of commercial loan documents, working closely with the FDIC to revive the D’Oench Dhume doctrine, which is asserted to bar claims against the successors to failed banking institutions; Drafted the briefs that became the template for motions the FDIC used in these matters all over the country, and was also asked to participate in hearings relating to the D’Oench Dhume doctrine throughout Florida. His notable decisions on this issue include: 1225 S.W. 8th Street Property, Inc. v. Iberiabank, 2012 WL 944804 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2012) (affirming dismissal with prejudice entered in favor of client on basis of FDIC superpowers) and Iberiabank v. Coconut 41, LLC, 2012 WL 2345223 (M.D. Fla. Jun. 11, 2012) (finding the federal court maintains mandatory continued jurisdiction after dismissal of FDIC when superpowers are invoked).
- Lead counsel from filing through a five-day federal jury trial for an insurance carrier during four years of litigation seeking payment of underpaid premiums. At trial, client was awarded the complete amount of damages sought. Following trial, the court awarded the client more than 95 percent of its requested attorney’s fees. American Home Assur. Co. v. Weaver Aggregate Transport, Inc., 298 F.R.D. 692 (M.D. Fla. 2014).
- Defended former directors and officers of a national airline in securities litigation in Florida state, federal, and bankruptcy courts, and obtained orders dismissing complaints from both state and federal judges. Arnold v. McFall, 839 F. Supp. 2d 1281 (S.D. Fla. 2011) and Welt v. McFall, 2013 WL 5937319 (Fla. 17th Cir. Ct. Aug. 26, 2013).
- Represented a leading cosmetic products company in antitrust litigation. Duty Free Americas, Inc. v. Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., 2014 WL 1329359 (S.D. Fla. March 31, 2014) (granting dismissal with prejudice); Duty Free Americas, Inc. v. Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., 946 F. Supp. 2d 1321 (granting dismissal).
- Represented a lender in navigating an “around the world” jurisdictional journey that involved (1) a contested removal from West Virginia state court to the Northern District of West Virginia; (2) a heavily opposed transfer from that court to the Middle District of Florida; (3) a stay entered by the transferee federal court to allow (4) summary judgment by a Florida state court to be entered. Creative Commc’ns, LLC v. Iberiabank, 2014 WL 2111208, at *4 (N.D. W. Va. May 7, 2014).
- Represented a leading component manufacturer in obtaining a judgment against a distributor. Esys Latin Am., Inc. v. Intel Corp., 925 F. Supp. 2d 1306, 1314 (S.D. Fla. 2013).
- Represented Brazil based bank in contesting attempted use of 28 U.S.C. § 1782 by Brazilian bankruptcy trustee for discovery in Brazil. Obtained a precedent setting order staying proceeding pending resolution of issues in Brazil and Cayman Islands courts. In re Application of Alves Braga, 789 F. Supp. 2d 1294 (S.D. Fla. 2011).
- Successfully contested subpoenas and obtained fees for client. Learning Connections, Inc. v. Kaufman, Englett & Lynd, PLLC, 282 F.R.D. 574 (M.D. Fla. 2012)
- Defended telecommunications company in lawsuit challenging eligibility for free cell phones under the federal Lifeline program. Schipke v. TracFone Wireless, Inc., 146 F. Supp. 3d 455, 457 (D. Conn. 2015), appeal dismissed (Feb. 4, 2016).
- Obtained precedent setting bankruptcy court bar order for liability insurer. Brophy v. Salkin, 550 B.R. 595, 599–600 (S.D. Fla. 2015).
- Defended antitrust claims on behalf of international company in litigation lasting nearly 10 years through state and federal trial and appellate courts. MYD Marine Distrib., Inc. v. Int’l Paint Ltd., 151 So. 3d 1263 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014).
- Represented nationally-known recording artist in dispute with a service vendor. Marley v. Jetshares Only, LLC, 767 F. Supp. 2d 1337 (S.D. Fla. 2011).