The promoters of a Christian film hawked by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) via robocalls have been hit with a $32.4 million judgement by a federal judge.
According to the Riverfront Times, a St Louis judge found in favor of a local couple along with 3.2 million others as part of the suit.
At issue was a robocall in 2012 featuring the voice of the evangelical Huckabee promoting a film called “Last Ounce of Courage,” described as a film about “faith, family and freedom.”
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber said that the judgement “reflects the severity of the offense” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, but that he could have imposed even more — as much as $1.6 billion.
“The amount of damages prescribed by the statute are so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportionate to the offense and obviously unreasonable,” Webber wrote, while adding that the TCPA is designed to have a “deterrent effect and to account for unquantifiable losses including the invasions of privacy, unwanted interruptions and disruptions at home, and the wasted time spent answering unwanted solicitation calls or unwanted voice messages.”
Webber previously ruled that Gabriel Joseph III, of Virginia, and his affiliated companies had violated the act, but withheld a ruling on damages until this week.
Joseph claimed that it was his understanding that he had consent to call the households in the campaign with his lawyer adding after the ruling that Joseph’s two companies were unlikely to have any money for the judgement since they are going out of business.