NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Popular U.S. pizza chain Papa John's faces a $250 million class-action lawsuit for blasting customers with illegal text messages.
The plaintiffs allege that Papa John's (PZZA) franchises sent customers a total of 500,000 unwanted messages in early 2010. The spam texts offered deals for pizza, and some customers complained they were getting 15 or 16 texts in a row, even during the middle of the night, according Donald Heyrich, an attorney representing the class.
"After I ordered from Papa John's, my telephone started beeping with text messages advertising pizza specials," Erin Chutich, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement. "Papa John's never asked permission to send me text message advertisements."
The pizza franchises sent the text blasts through a mass text messaging service called OnTime4U, which is also a defendant in the case. When Papa John's was first sued in April 2010, the franchises allegedly ended their involvement with OnTime4U's text program, after the pizza company informed its corporate stores and franchisees that sending unsolicited messages to cellphones "is most likely illegal."
apa John's was first sued in April 2010, the franchises allegedly ended their involvement with OnTime4U's text program, after the pizza company informed its corporate stores and franchisees that sending unsolicited messages to cellphones "is most likely illegal."
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 bars companies from sending advertisements via text message without a consumer first opting into the service.
Caroline Oyler, Papa John's head of legal affairs, said that Papa John's corporate text messaging program is not subject to the lawsuit, as the text were sent "by third-party vendors and a small number of franchisees."
The class-action lawsuit could lead to the largest damages awards ever recovered under the TCPA, according to Heyrich. The plaintiffs are seeking $500 per text, but they could be awarded up to $1,500 for each message if a jury rules that Papa John's willfully broke the law.
"We have noticed text message spam is increasing in part because advertisers see it as a great way to get their material directly into the hands of customers," Heyrich said. "We hope this case keeps text message spam out of cellphones."
Oyler, however, said that Papa John's sees "no basis" for the plaintiff's estimate of $250 million.
The nationwide class-action case was certified on Nov. 9 by U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour in Seattle. Papa John's plans to appeal the judge's ruling, Oyler said.
"We don't agree with it and will continue to aggressively defend it," she said. "We'll continue to litigate the case and defend the lawsuit and move to have it dismissed."
Shares of Papa John's fell by 1% on Tuesday and have fallen by nearly 2% since the judge ruled that the plaintiffs could join together
This. Is. Awesome!
I hope to hell he loses and has to pay the fine. It'll serve the fucker right.
Good. Couldn't happen to a better asshole.
What R2 said.
Bye bye, pizza boy!!
It's amazing how all these evil Republicans are getting their payback right now. It's all happening at the same time!
Looks like the holidays are coming early....
Hmm, time to start firing more people.
The world could easlily miss some shitty pizza joint. It's not like there is a lack of them
How much is that per pizza?
More than Obamacare?
Oh dear, I hope the freak that owns that company won't be so bereft of cash he can't get a THIRD facelift!
Who ate this pizza? I'm no food snob but I bought a Papa John's pizza for my family once and I was embarassed. It was gross. It was soggy and the crust was gooey. The ingredients didn't seemed cooked. Was I supposed to cook it at home? Maybe that's what I did wrong.
When the franchise opened up in my town they gave away free slices so I tried it. The sauce was gag inducing. Haven't touched it since.
Now that I have learned all about the owner I'm really glad I didn't give him any of my money.
R8, ALOT of people.
Here's his "modest" home:
[quote] When Papa John Schnatter hosted a fundraiser for Mitt Romney earlier this year, the Republican candidate began his remarks by saying: “Who would’ve imagined pizza could build this? This is really something. Don’t you love this country? What a home this is, what grounds these are, the pool, the golf course…. This is a real tribute to America, to entrepreneurship.” If your house impresses Mitt Romney, the ultimate one percenter, you know it must be pretty awesome. To start, John Schnatter’s 40,000 square foot castle is located in a wealthy country club suburb of Louisville, Kentucky. The property is spread out over a 16 acre estate and as Romney mentioned, features several swimming pools, a private lake and a golf course. The guest house alone is 6000 square feet and is valued at over $7 million according to Zillow.com! Another interesting feature is the 22 car multi-level underground garage which has its very own “valet office”, car wash and a gigantic motorized turn table-driveway to help park stretch limousines.
[quote]What is it about Pizza franchises that brings out Republican shitstains?
It's a cash business that can make or lose as much money as you want and it can be staffed by kids who don't know what they're worth.
I looked through the books for a friend interested in purchasing a defunct franchise - what a fucking mess. Ovens were much older than documented, receipts mysteriously stopped during peek times (meaning sales off-register), and sales taxes hadn't been reported.
Between this and the chicken, one hopes this hastens the clogged arteries of so many idiots,
Can you imagine being so "Christian" that you look at that man's obscenely-lavished home and feel you must protect HIM alone rather than pay 11 cents more so his employees can get a "luxury" like healthcare?
I guess they skip over the passage about a rich man and the camel through the eye of a needle.
Them Christians ought to see by now that God is on Obama's side.
When the revolution finally comes, should we drag this fucker out of the castle before we torch it, or let him burn inside with it? It might be more satisfactory to kill him ourselves so we can watch him die.
Can you imagine working there on "appreciation day", knowing that all the increased sales are coming from people who would rather see you unemployed than have health insurance?
It's criminal how people in this country view working people versus CEOs. Absolutely sick.
R21, the question is: What kind of an idiot would buy a pizza on "appreciation day" aka. "screw the employees" day. The employees... making the pizza... in the back.
Yeah, R22. I typically like pizza with everything EXCEPT pubic hair and spit.
What people need to do is get the message out, whether true or not, that employees intend to spit in the pizza, etc. I can't believe Papa John would be too stupid to realize that would be a very likely possibility. How does he intend to ensure that doesn't happen?
The way he lives is a sin.
You wanna mess with us dickhead Mr. CEO of all that is crap, well you ain't gonna win!
Bump for money not buying you taste.
Envy his wealth, not his taste in homes.
What a tacky abomination.
One doesn't go into business to LOSE money. Got it?
That's a home? No that's monument to 'Papa John"s' horrendously bad nouveau riche Donald Trump-ish taste!
What a piece of shit this man is, to not even acknowledge that the workers are the main reason for his success. His pizza is disgusting, who is buying such garbage?
I'm so glad I work for a small business. The owner treats everyone like gold, he actually treats us like we are important to the business' success, we aren't treated not like cogs in a wheel to make him even richer.
I can't imagine working for a huge corporation, let alone for douchebag creep like "Papa John'.
Papa John, huh? I think Michelle, Chyna and Bijou Phillips need to sue this creep for using their dad's copyrighted stage name!
[quote] Hey Bitches? One doesn't go into business to LOSE money. Got it?
Hey Papa? If you were even a mediocre businessman you'd know that employee health insurance expenses are tax deductible.