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Cruise Lines Get Final OK for $12.5 Million Robocall Settlement

Oct. 29, 2019, 9:42 PM

Three major cruise lines and a travel agency have received final approval from the Northern District of Illinois for a $12.5 million class action settlement. They were accused of bombarding consumers nationwide with prerecorded telemarketing calls promoting cruise trips without their consent.

Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Norwegian Cruise Lines (Bahamas) Ltd., contributed to the settlement fund together with Resort Marketing Group, the travel agency that operated the auto-dialing system in a manner that purportedly violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

A total 274,851 valid claims have been filed since the settlement was initially approved in July 2017, Judge Andrea R. Wood said Oct. 28 for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The average share of the fund was just over $22 per claim, she said.

Thirty-one objections were filed against the settlement’s terms, but the agreement is fair, reasonable, and adequate, Wood said. Some media outlets reported that affected consumers could take home several hundred dollars each, which led to some dissatisfied class members, but “the surge of claimants that resulted from the press coverage was not a situation created by the parties,” Wood said.

Class counsel was awarded $3.15 million in attorneys’ fees using a percentage-of-the-fund method. Here, that amounted to 33.99% of the settlement fund after subtracting administrative costs and Philip Chavrat’s $25,000 incentive award for serving as the class representative, Wood said.

The attorneys’ fees are reasonable, given the initial complaint was filed in 2012 and the complex litigation was hard-fought before the parties agreed to settle, Wood said.

Two objectors sought separate incentive awards and attorneys’ fees in the six-figure range, but the objectors’ efforts to influence the settlement terms and class notice procedures weren’t material contributions that would justify such payouts, Wood said.

The Burke Law Offices LLC, Broderick Law P.C., and the Law Office of Matthew McCue in Natick, MA., represented Charvat and the class.

Foreman Friedman P.A., Wiczer Sheldon & Jacobs LLC, and the Neff Law Group P.C. in New Orleans, LA., represented Royal Caribbean.

Swanson Martin & Bell LLP represented Carnival.

Resort Marketing Group and Elizabeth Valente represented themselves.

The case is Charvat v. Valente, N.D. Ill., No. 12-cv-05746, 10/28/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Porter Wells in Washington at pwells@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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