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Bucs face huge potential liability in junk-fax lawsuit

Fax Getty Images

The Broncos could end up being the team with only the second worst offseason fax-machine faux pas.

According to Peter Jamison of the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers have been sued in federal court for violating the statute prohibiting junk faxes.

Yes, there’s a Junk Fax Protection Act of 2005, which imposes a $500 fine for every fax that is sent to someone who didn’t want it.  The lawsuit, a class action with Cin-Q Automobiles of Gainesville as the named plaintiff, claims that 180,000 different people received junk faxes.  The fine, which can indeed be enforced by a private lawsuit, is $500 per violation.

That’s $90 million in potential liability, unless the Buccaneers can prove an “established business relationship” with any, some, or all of the recipients.  This would cut the total exposure down at $500 per recipient, but it requires among other things a clear and effective “opt out” procedure, and clear and conspicuous notification on the first page of the fax for blocking future messages.

If it’s deemed that the Buccaneers willfully and knowingly violated the Junk Fax Protection Act, the damages can be tripled (or trebled, for the folks who prefer it fancy).  That’s total potential liability of $270 million.Though the suit was filed this week, the alleged violations occurred in 2009, when attendance at Raymond James Stadium first began to seriously dip.While this one has a long way to go, the worst-case scenario is bad enough to make more than a few people lose sleep at One Buc Place.

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51 Responses to “Bucs face huge potential liability in junk-fax lawsuit”
  1. greenmeattruck says: Jun 22, 2013 8:53 AM

    Too bad the law doesn’t apply to spam in emails.

  2. faulkner22 says: Jun 22, 2013 8:57 AM

    “At least people received a fax in this case.” — Elvis Dumervil

  3. jeagan1999 says: Jun 22, 2013 8:57 AM

    I’ve been on the national “Do Not Call List” for over a year and I still get calls from telemarketers and sales people…these kind of laws are a joke. Don’t want the fax, then throw it away…big freakin deal!

  4. mrbigass says: Jun 22, 2013 9:08 AM

    Seriously? This country has become so litigious that now we’re suing over a piece of paper.

    Next, the paper resulted in a “disfiguring paper cut” and that 500 bucks is now 500 million.

    Excuse me while I throw up and figure out who I can sue for that……..

  5. keylimelight says: Jun 22, 2013 9:08 AM

    From the link:

    “A Gainesville business, exasperated by faxed ads for Buccaneers tickets several years ago, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tampa earlier this week, alleging the football franchise violated a federal statute that outlaws “junk faxes.”

    Wow. The Bucs’ promotions office sure took a lazy (and cheap) way to get the word out. Via FAX? Really? They should pry open their wallet and get on radio, TV and internet.

  6. nonetruerthanblue says: Jun 22, 2013 9:20 AM

    Fax??

  7. captainphintastic says: Jun 22, 2013 9:20 AM

    jeagan1999 says:
    Jun 22, 2013 8:57 AM
    I’ve been on the national “Do Not Call List” for over a year and I still get calls from telemarketers and sales people…these kind of laws are a joke. Don’t want the fax, then throw it away…big freakin deal!

    ——————————————-
    The big deal is it’s against the law. H.ave you paid for printer paper and toner or ink cartridges lately? They are expensive. Junk faxers and telemarketers should be rounded up and shot

  8. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Jun 22, 2013 9:24 AM

    I am slightly confused, hopefully you can explain for me Mike. Would any damages they have to play to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit be separate from fines they would have to pay for violating the Junk Fax Protection Act?

  9. FinFan68 says: Jun 22, 2013 9:26 AM

    At first I thought somebody pulled a Favre via fax machine… ;)

    Seriously, people need to get a grip. Getting a single unwanted fax is annoying but not law suit worthy. Getting hundreds from the same people (after requesting it to stop) is a different matter but it doesn’t seem like the case here.

  10. chc4 says: Jun 22, 2013 9:27 AM

    Based on the pathetic attendance at Bucs games since ’09 I think we can safely say that these junk fax schemes don’t work.

    But I’ve been so tempted to take advantage of those $49 cruises and $9/month health insurance plans.

  11. pinchekeith says: Jun 22, 2013 9:28 AM

    the bloodletting of the NFL and its teams continues. People are going to continue to try and eat the league alive while its on top, and the current state of the legal system is going to allow it.

  12. snookau says: Jun 22, 2013 9:30 AM

    Gotta love class action suits. All for greedy lawyers. They get half the money and the participants get checks for $10.

  13. tsizzlesucks says: Jun 22, 2013 9:36 AM

    You know what ‘d say to the business that initiated the lawsuit….” Fax You”. And if I were a Bucs fan, I certainly would make sure that I never did any business with them!

  14. thefox61 says: Jun 22, 2013 9:38 AM

    People use fax machines?

  15. odessabucs says: Jun 22, 2013 9:40 AM

    I tired of Doug, the face of mesothelioma coming into my home via the trial lawyer ads. William Devane and his gold pitch as well. We need serious tort reform in this country.

  16. rpiotr01 says: Jun 22, 2013 9:43 AM

    I used to think the IRS was the only backwards organization in this country that still insisted on using faxes for everything, but looks like I’m wrong.

  17. scandiman says: Jun 22, 2013 9:47 AM

    Somebody should tell the office to get their fax straight!

  18. keylimelight says: Jun 22, 2013 9:48 AM

    “…exasperated by faxed ads for Buccaneers tickets several years ago, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tampa earlier this week…”

    Why the delay in filing a suit over something that happened several years ago? Cin-Q Automobiles of Gainesville sounds like a car dealership, maybe they’re cash strapped and sinking so they’ve gotten creative looking for funding. At $500 per fax, that will at least cover labor wages if not inventory.

  19. dynaco says: Jun 22, 2013 9:50 AM

    Oh good a break in the Hernandez action.
    I can go out and get more popcorn.

  20. skinsfantom says: Jun 22, 2013 9:50 AM

    ………now, about our qb situation?

  21. baronvonmonocle says: Jun 22, 2013 9:55 AM

    Okay, so what about those unwanted telegrams and smoke signals the Bucs keep sending me?

  22. GenXJay says: Jun 22, 2013 9:57 AM

    Faxing is so…hold on…sorry, my pager was going off.

  23. justintuckrule says: Jun 22, 2013 10:03 AM

    I’m a lawyer and I even think this case is slimy….especially if only a few faxes went to numerous people.

    Or….unless it was a situation where Kramer gave every restaurant in town Elaine’s fax number. Creeeeeeeeek craaaaawwwwkkkk.

  24. rawpowwa says: Jun 22, 2013 10:09 AM

    This is why you leave marketing to the young bucs.

  25. notoriousbuc says: Jun 22, 2013 10:11 AM

    Could be a good thing…maybe the Glazers will now unload that other “football” team in their portfolio and concentrate on getting back to playoff contention.

  26. petedutcherjr says: Jun 22, 2013 10:34 AM

    Gainesville. Jaguars country isn’t it? The faxes bothered them so much that it took 4 years to decide to file the lawsuit?

    Who even keeps a fax that long unless it is a business document?

    Faxes are still used a lot. Mainly because not every household has a computer and internet access. Or a scanner.

    And even if you do there are situations where you have to send faxes. My wife sends about 4 per year. Faxes are accepted as legal documents, emails are not because its easier to forge documents on computer.

  27. mrlaloosh says: Jun 22, 2013 10:43 AM

    “Gainesville Jaguars country”? Jacksonville isn’t even Jaguars country.

  28. helladonks says: Jun 22, 2013 10:44 AM

    @notoriousbuc
    YES. I’ve long thought those cheap bastards used my beloved, favorite team to help fund that OTHER football team. I feel like we deserve better owners :/

  29. deadeye says: Jun 22, 2013 10:48 AM

    Does this mean that the right lawyer can turn all my unsolicited faxes into gold? Indeed, America IS the land of opportunity.

  30. dartwick says: Jun 22, 2013 10:55 AM

    Im totally in favor of these lawsuits.

    These laws are created to stop business from abusing the public.
    If no one follows up the laws dont work.

    The reason its not unreasonable to fine someone 5 dollars per event as a punishment. What is unreasonable is that the Bucs dit it One hundred and eighty THOUSAND times.

  31. ruggyup says: Jun 22, 2013 10:57 AM

    Some may lose sleep at One Buc Place? Or, in real time, some do lose jobs at One Buc Place and the questions become who knew what and when? This buck won’t stop at One Buck.

  32. allhailkingflacco says: Jun 22, 2013 11:03 AM

    Dear bucs Management,

    I have bulk rate discounts on my homing pigeons that will deliver your sales ads. Let me know.

    Mike Tyson

  33. evilglazers666 says: Jun 22, 2013 11:11 AM

    Time to fire the entire staff again…

  34. 69finfan says: Jun 22, 2013 11:11 AM

    This Gainesville Business is just mad the Bucs didn’t draft Tim Tebow.

  35. cheapglazers says: Jun 22, 2013 11:12 AM

    Seemed like a good way to save money…

  36. beedubyatoo says: Jun 22, 2013 11:31 AM

    odessabucs says: Jun 22, 2013 9:40 AM

    I tired of Doug, the face of mesothelioma coming into my home via the trial lawyer ads. William Devane and his gold pitch as well. We need serious tort reform in this country.
    —————————
    Press another channel number on the remote. Or, as an alternate, check to see if your TV has an on/off switch. You can do that with the remote also.

    Ask your kids. They can help if you are still confused.

  37. razzmatazzcomics says: Jun 22, 2013 11:51 AM

    I never knew of this law until today. It makes sense. Without it, every tree in this country, and probably the entire rain forest, would be chopped down in a matter of weeks to make paper.

  38. eatitfanboy says: Jun 22, 2013 12:04 PM

    Stop asking the government to protect you from things it takes you literally less than 5 seconds to either delete or throw away yourself. And if you’re the last person on earth without caller ID, that’s on you.

    That is really, really, not what the government is there for.

  39. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Jun 22, 2013 12:12 PM

    Where is King Solomon when you need him?

    After some deliberation, King Solomon called for a sword to be brought before him. He declared that there was only one fair solution: the fax machine must be split in two, each party receiving half of the equipment. The liar, in his bitter jealousy, exclaimed, “It shall be neither mine nor yours—divide it!” However, upon hearing this terrible verdict, the faxes true owner cried out, “Oh Lord, give the technology over to him, just don’t kill it!” The king then saw the fax machine’s true sender.

    This has become an archetypal example of a judge displaying wisdom in making a ruling. Far cry from what we have today.

  40. uglyglazers says: Jun 22, 2013 12:23 PM

    Will these idiots ever sell the team?

  41. sschmiggles says: Jun 22, 2013 12:23 PM

    To all of you people whining about lawsuits and tort reform–they sent unwanted faxes to 180,000 people. 180,000!

    Have you bought printer paper and ink cartridges lately? Think about how much money this company forced people to waste. This isn’t like email, you are forcing them to waste paper, ink, and their money, just so you can spam them.

    They deserve to get sued.

  42. jerrygray721 says: Jun 22, 2013 12:37 PM

    couldn’t they just block the fax # and stop it? no way there just aint no money in that

  43. thestrategyexpert says: Jun 22, 2013 12:57 PM

    Oh wow this article fires me up. I’m a big advocate against junk/spam mail of any type and it’s about time somebody starting paying some big fines.

    I say hit them hard for the max fine and treble it up and then use all of that money to hire an army to find every other violator of junk or spam mail.

  44. hedleykow says: Jun 22, 2013 1:21 PM

    Charlie Tuna raised the bar for fanciness when turning up his nose at anything less than a treble hook.

  45. mail2bency says: Jun 22, 2013 1:39 PM

    Oh, it’s just $90 million dollars in fines…couldn’t they just raise ticket prices 12% and force the innocent fans to make up the difference?

  46. tpa43 says: Jun 22, 2013 1:44 PM

    Really? I thought owners were hardworking and honest people? They would break the law for financial gain?

  47. razzzmajazzz says: Jun 22, 2013 1:47 PM

    I’m on board with anything that sticks it to the bucs. HAHAHAHA!!!!!

  48. tjacks7 says: Jun 22, 2013 1:56 PM

    I checked into it and it turns out Paul Revere was busy that day and unavailable to deliver the message by horseback.

  49. marcinhouston says: Jun 22, 2013 3:37 PM

    People who don’t like this lawsuit need to realize that if there were not junk fax laws and no call lists, it might take seconds to throw away the paper or hang up the call, but the number of papers and calls would increase exponentially. Anyway, those commenters are probably professional spammers themselves, trolling the forum for sympathy. Email spam can be combated by sophisticated spam filters and junk boxes, because computers can do that, its a lot harder on phones and faxes.

  50. micknangold says: Jun 22, 2013 4:36 PM

    @jetsjetsjetsnow….what on earth are you talking about?

  51. bcweir says: Jun 22, 2013 4:47 PM

    mrbigass says: Jun 22, 2013 9:08 AM

    Seriously? This country has become so litigious that now we’re suing over a piece of paper.

    “mrbigass” has obviously never owned a fax machine. This isn’t like email spam that you can just delete with “no harm, no foul” consequences. Instead, you need to think of a fax machine as basically a giant laser printer with a phone line attached to it. When these junk faxers send you junk faxes to YOUR fax machine, YOUR toner and YOUR paper is consumed. This increases YOUR costs of maintaining the machine, as you now have to replace the toner and paper WASTED by these junk faxes. That’s like having a stranger come to your house uninvited, use your car without your consent, then returning it to you with four flat tires and an empty gas tank. Are you fine with paying for that too?

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