Miami Herald on Robocalls

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This is the text of the Miami Herald story.

Man Sues over Repeated School ‘Robocalls’ about Child He Doesn’t Have

By David Ovalle
February 8, 2017

A South Florida man is so annoyed by “robocalls” from Miramar High that he’s suing the school district.

In a federal lawsuit filed this week, Willie Willis — who does not have a child attending the Broward County school — claims more than two dozen of the automated calls since September have caused him a “significant amount of anxiety, frustration and annoyance.”

He’s demanding up to $25,000 from the Broward School district .

Pre-recorded phone calls using an artificial voice are standard for school districts, which use them to quickly inform parents about developments on campus. In Willis’ case, the calls were made to inform him that a student, unnamed in the lawsuit, was missing classes.

Willis, of Fort Lauderdale, claims he repeatedly called the school to tell them they had the wrong number in their phone bank, but the calls continued anyway. Willis was “annoyed, harassed and inconvenienced” and deserves up to $500 for every phone call to his cell, according to the lawsuit filed by Connecticut attorney Stan Michael Maslona.

A Broward school district spokeswoman declined to comment because the lawsuit is ongoing.

The lawsuit was filed under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. This type of litigation is not uncommon, but the companies being sued are generally debt collectors, telemarketers and retail stores, not schools, said Sergei Lemberg, another of Willis’ attorneys.

“A lot of industries complain about being sued by lawyers for robocalls, but my position is the same: People come to us when they don’t know what else do and where else to turn,” Lemberg said.

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