In January 2022, Google users looked to find out if an email for a proposed class action settlement for National Grid was a "scam or legit," as readers often do after receiving such notices. The email had the subject line, "Notice of National Grid TCPA Settlement," and linked to the website, NationalGridTCPASettlement.com.
This was a legitimate notice for a real class action settlement for National Grid. The case was named, "Jenkins et al. v. National Grid USA Service Company Inc., et al." The case number was listed as 15-cv-1219 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. "TCPA" stands for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
What's This About?
National Grid is a utility company. According to the settlement website's FAQ page, "the lawsuit claims that National Grid and its debt collectors made calls with automated dialers and/or prerecorded or artificial voice messages to cellular telephones," and that these telemarketing actions were done "without the prior express consent of the persons called":
Plaintiffs allege that this conduct violates the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. National Grid denies those allegations and disputes that it did anything wrong.
Some of the calls at issue in the lawsuit were made directly by National Grid, while others were made by debt collectors hired by National Grid to collect utility debts that were allegedly past due. Many of the calls were made to persons who are or were National Grid utility account holders, but some calls were made to persons who were not a National Grid account holder.
“National Grid” includes utilities operating in New York as KeySpan Gas East Corporation, The Brooklyn Union Gas Company, Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation; in Massachusetts as Boston Gas Company, Colonial Gas Company (now part of Boston Gas), Massachusetts Electric Company, Nantucket Electric Company; and in Rhode Island as The Narragansett Electric Company.
Plaintiffs Jarrett Jenkins, Emmot Steele, Frances Royal, Danai Ewan, and Charmaine Whyte filed the lawsuit against National Grid and some of its affiliated companies about these issues.
The time period at issue in the settlement was from March 9, 2011, through Oct. 29, 2021. The case has been around since at least 2017.
How Big Is the Settlement?
According to the National Grid TCPA settlement email notice and a December 2021 article from JD Supra, a $38.5 million settlement was reached.
How much will eligible participants be able to pocket? According to the settlement website: "It is estimated by Class Counsel that settlement payments will range between $50 and $150 per Settlement Class Member, although the actual amount could be higher or lower."
Claims must be submitted by May 12, 2022.
Who Is Eligible?
On the National Grid TCPA settlement website’s FAQ page, it spelled out how readers can tell if they would be eligible for funds from the settlement.
"You are part of the Settlement Class if you reside in the United States and received, a telephone call on a cellular telephone using a prerecorded or artificial voice message from March 9, 2011, until October 29, 2021, from the defendant concerning the items listed in FAQ 3 above," the website said:
All persons residing in the United States who, from March 9, 2011 until October 29, 2021, received a telephone call on a cellular telephone using a prerecorded or artificial voice message concerning: (1) the payment or status of a current or past National Grid utility bill or account; (2) an “important matter” concerning a current or past National Grid utility bill or account; (3) a disconnect notice concerning a current or past National Grid utility account; (4) an invitation from National Grid to attend a Customer Assistance Expo or to meet with or speak to the National Grid Consumer Advocacy Group, National Grid Consumer Advocate, or National Grid Credit Department; or (5) the availability of a government assistance program, such as the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), to assist with payments to National Grid.
The email notice, as well as another recent settlement for a company named Plaid, might have landed in some reader’s spam folders. For more details, visit the official National Grid TCPA settlement website.