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Wells Fargo Settles Case Based on FaxLock Icon

2 min read

Do you remember the unusual fax class-action case that led to a $22.4 million judgment against Wells Fargo Bank? Well, the case was closed last week after both sides reached a settlement in January.

The details of the settlement were filed under seal, so we’re not sure of the arrangements.

But if you recall, back in 2015, class representative M.S. Wholesale Plumbing Inc. of Russellville accused WestFax Inc. of Centennial, Colorado, of relaying more than 42,000 faxes that did not meet the specific opt-out requirements of the decades-old federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. M.S. Wholesale is represented by attorneys James Streett of the Streett Law Firm in Russellville and Joe P. Leniski Jr. of Branstetter Stranch & Jennings in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 2018, WestFax was hit with a $21.1 million class-action judgment in favor of M.S. Wholesale Plumbing. Shortly after the judgment was entered, Wells Fargo was pulled into the case.

Wells Fargo once held accounts belonging to WestFax. In April 2019, the bank received two writs of garnishments. A bank employee responded to one of the writs by saying WestFax’s account was closed. But Streett said in Pope County Circuit Court filings that the response didn’t answer his questions.

Pope County Circuit Judge Dennis Sutterfield agreed, which led to a hearing in June 2019 to determine the amount of the garnishment. To prepare for the hearing,

Streett sent Wells Fargo two questions. The key one asked Wells Fargo to admit that it held $22.4 million — WestFax’s judgment plus interest — when it received the writ of garnishment.

Wells Fargo didn’t respond to the questions. (In court filings, Wells Fargo said it wasn’t properly served with the request for admissions.) But since Wells Fargo did not respond to the question with a denial, the statement that it held $22.4 million of WestFax’s money was accepted as true.

That allowed M.S. Wholesale to obtain the judgment from Wells Fargo on behalf of class members.

Wells Fargo appealed the decision to the Arkansas Court of Appeals, but later settled the case.

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