Feb 18, 2023

W.Va. woman accuses law firms of unwanted calls about Camp Lejeune litigation

Posted by : Ed Lott, Ph.D., M.B.A.

A Wheeling woman has filed a potential federal class action lawsuit alleging law firms are soliciting potential plaintiffs for a lawsuit against the federal government over contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.


WHEELING – A Wheeling woman has filed a potential federal class action lawsuit alleging law firms are soliciting potential plaintiffs for a lawsuit against the federal government over contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.

Diana Mey is the named plaintiff in a complaint filed February 14 in federal court against Florida-based Levin Papantonio Rafferty Proctor Buchanan O’Brien Barr and Mougey, Maryland-based Principal Law Group, Minnesota-based MCM Service Group and John Doe defendants.

May says the defendants knowingly solicited West Virginia-based clients and engaged in persistent course of conduct.

Levin Law and the Principal Law Group are representing clients in a mass toxic tort claim against the federal government regarding contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s to the 1980s which allegedly exposed millions of service members and families to toxic chemicals.

The site is home to the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station New River near Jacksonville, N.C.

In August, Congress passed the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, offering a new right of action to individuals affected by the Camp Lejeune contaminated water.

“In a race to sign up clients, law firms – including Levin Law and The Principal Law Group – have collectively spent millions of dollars on mass tort ad campaigns seeking to represent Camp Lejeune victims,” the complaint states. “Advertising is the main method to find claimants, and it’s handled by an ecosystem of lawyer-specific ad agencies known as lead generators.

“To increase the reach of their efforts to sign up Camp Lejeune victims, defendants and their agents used automated technology to place thousands of calls to potential claimants.”

Mey’s cell phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry, but she says the defendants still called it to solicit legal services with the Camp Lejeune litigation.

She says the first call came on January 24 through a “spoofed” number similar to hers to disguise the true source of the call. She says she received a second call a few minutes later, and two more calls came later that evening.

Mey says she talked to several representatives and learned she and her husband qualified for Camp Lejeune claims.

The next day, she says she received a few follow-up calls regarding paperwork for the litigation. Then, she says she received a calls from “Jeff Hopkins,” the person she originally talked to the day before.

“As if they had never spoken before, Mr. Hopkins again asked a series of scripted questions to determine whether Mey qualified to be a Camp Lejeune claimant,” the complaint states. “Like the original January 24 call, Mr. Hopkins represented that he was going to transfer the call to a law firm. Mr. Hopkins apparently had trouble reaching the law firm, so Mey hung up.”

Less than 30 minutes later, Mey says she received two more calls from “Brian Fury” asking the same series of scripted questions.

On January 30, after Mey had asked for the name of the marketing firm responsible for referring her to the law firms, she was told it was MCM. A representative for Principal Law Group told her MCM uses, among other methods, cold calls to solicit prospective clients. Later that day, Mey was told by another Principal Law Group representative he was going to investigate her concerns regarding the source of the calls.

On yet another call that day, a man named Dwaine from Principal Law Group “attempted to assuage Mey’s concerns about the legitimacy of the proposed representation by extolling the size and credentials of the Principal Law Group’s partner law firm, Levin Law.”

“Mey advised Dwaine that she was not interested in the proposed representation and asked that he pass on her request to not receive any further calls ‘by you or any of the marketing companies,” the complaint states.

Less than an hour later, she says Dwaine called again “in a last-ditch effort to sign Mey up as a client.”

Mey accuses the defendants of violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal statute enacted in response to public outrage about intrusive, nuisance telemarketing practices.

She seeks certification of the proposed class and to be appointed class representative, judgment permanently enjoining defendants from engaging in unlawful telemarketing practices, injunctive relief to ensure compliance, statutory damage of $500 for each negligent TCPA violation and $1,500 for each knowing violation. She also seeks to hold the defendants jointly and severally liable.

Mey is being represented by Andrew C. Robey and Ryan M. Donovan of Hissam Forman Donovan Ritchie in Charleston.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number 5:23-cv-00046

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