This case was last updated from U.S. District Courts on 01/02/2022 at 07:01:37 (UTC).

MacClelland et al v. Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless et al

Case Summary

On November 3, 2021, Teresa MacClelland, Karen Umberger, and Scott Willits (“Plaintiffs”), individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, represented by Daniel Morley Hattis and Paul Karl Lukacs of Hattis & Lukacs, filed a personal property fraud lawsuit against Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless and Verizon Communications, Inc. (“Verizon” or “Defendants”), seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, disgorgement and damages plus interest, costs and attorneys’ fees, for allegedly perpetrating a bait-and-switch scheme to defraud its wireless service customers. This case was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California with Judge Robert M. Illman presiding. 

 

In the complaint, the Plaintiffs alleged that “This case challenges a bait-and-switch scheme perpetrated by Verizon against its wireless service customers. Verizon prominently advertises particular flat monthly rates for its post-paid wireless service plans. Then, after customers sign up, Verizon actually charges higher monthly rates than advertised and promised by padding the bill with an undisclosed so-called “Administrative Charge.” The so-called Administrative Charge is simply a means for Verizon to charge more per month for the service itself without having to advertise the higher prices.”

 

The Plaintiffs further alleged that “Verizon first began sneaking the Administrative Charge into all of its post-paid wireless customers’ bills in 2005, initially at a rate of $0.40 per month for each phone line. Since then, Verizon has repeatedly increased the amount of the Administrative Charge. The current amount of the Administrative Charge is $1.95 per month for each phone line—a nearly 5X increase from the original amount of the charge. Verizon has used the Administrative Charge as a revenue lever to covertly jack up its monthly service prices and to squeeze its existing subscribers for more cash whenever Verizon desires. To date, Verizon has improperly collected over $1 billion in additional charges from its California subscribers through its Administrative Charge scheme.”

 

The Plaintiffs also alleged that “Verizon then deliberately and affirmatively misrepresents the so-called Administrative Charge on its billing statements to further its scheme. Verizon excludes the Administrative Charge from the “Monthly charges” section and instead puts it in the “Surcharges” section where Verizon lumps it together with government costs. Even worse, Verizon explicitly and falsely states on its monthly bills that the Administrative Charge is a surcharge imposed on subscribers to “cover the costs that are billed to us by federal, state or local governments.” Thus, by Verizon’s own design, the monthly billing statements serve to further Verizon’s scheme and keep customers from realizing they are being overcharged.”

 

The Plaintiffs list out four claims for relief. The first claim is for alleged violation of the CLRA. The second and third claims are for alleged violation of California’s false advertising law and unfair competition law under California Business and Professions Code, respectively. The fourth claim is for alleged breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. 

 

In the prayer for relief, the Plaintiffs requested the Court to declare this action to be a class action and enter a public injunction against Verizon under the CLRA, FAL, and UCL. Further, the Plaintiffs have requested the Court to order disgorgement of all profits unjustly enriched, and order to pay damages along with attorneys’ fees, costs, pre-judgment, and post-judgment interest. Lastly, the Plaintiffs have requested the Court to order Verizon to adequately and accurately disclose to its subscribers the existence of the Administrative Charge, its true nature or basis, and its amount and pay.

 

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Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    3:21-CV-08592

  • Filing Date:

    11/03/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Personal Property Fraud

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

Edward M. Chen

Robert M. Illman

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

Teresa MacClelland

Karen Umberger

Scott Willits

Valerie Reed

John St.Jarre

Louise Monsour

Vanessa West

Tim Frasch

Darleen Perez

William Kaupelis

Kerry Showalter

Bruce Schramm

Patricia Gagan

William Eric Lough

Michael Carney

Anna Gutierrez

Janette Lisner

Marilyn Kaye

Defendants

Cellco Partnership doing business as Verizon Wireless

Verizon Communications Inc.

9 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

Daniel Morley Hattis

Attorney at Hattis & Lukacs

400 108Th Ave. Ne, Suite 500

Bellevue, WA 98004

Paul Karl Lukacs

Attorney at Hattis & Lukacs

936 Woodlawn Drive

Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

 

Court Documents

1 #1

Main Document

1 #1

Exhibit A - CLRA Declarations

1 #2

Civil Cover Sheet

#2

(#2) Proposed Summons. (Hattis, Daniel) (Filed on 11/3/2021) (Entered: 11/03/2021)

#4

(#4) CONSENT/DECLINATION to Proceed Before a US Magistrate Judge by Teresa MacClelland, Karen Umberger, Scott Willits.. (Hattis, Daniel) (Filed on 11/4/2021) (Entered: 11/04/2021)

#5

(#5) Summons Issued as to Cellco Partnership, Verizon Communications Inc.. (anj, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/4/2021) (Entered: 11/04/2021)

#6

(#6) Initial Case Management Scheduling Order with ADR Deadlines: Case Management Statement due by 1/25/2022. Initial Case Management Conference set for 2/1/2022 02:00 PM in McKinleyville, Telephone Conference Only. (anj, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/4/2021) (Entered: 11/04/2021)

8 #8

Main Document

8 #1

Notice of Eligibility for Video Recording

#9

(#9) CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE ORDER IN REASSIGNED CASE: Initial Case Management Conference set for 3/22/2022 01:30 PM in San Francisco, - Videoconference Only. Joint Case Management Statement due by 3/15/2022. Signed by Judge Edward M. Chen on 11/24/2021. (afm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/24/2021) (Entered: 11/28/2021)

10 #10

Main Document

10 #1

Exhibit A - CLRA Declarations

#11

(#11) Proposed Summons. (Hattis, Daniel) (Filed on 12/31/2021) (Entered: 12/31/2021)

4 More Documents Available
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Docket Entries

  • 12/31/2021
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  • Docket(#11) Proposed Summons. (Hattis, Daniel) (Filed on 12/31/2021) (Entered: 12/31/2021)

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  • 12/31/2021
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  • Docket(#10) AMENDED COMPLAINT against All Defendants. Filed byValerie Reed, John St.Jarre, Louise Monsour, Vanessa West, Tim Frasch, Darleen Perez, William Kaupelis, Kerry Showalter, Bruce Schramm, Patricia Gagan, William Eric Lough, Michael Carney, Anna Gutierrez, Janette Lisner, Marilyn Kaye, Teresa Toy, Michael Branom, Gloria Stern, David Massaro, Augustus Johnson, Edna Toy, Molly Brown, Linda Jenkins, Gabrielle Pozzuoli. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit A - CLRA Declarations)(Hattis, Daniel) (Filed on 12/31/2021) (Entered: 12/31/2021)

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  • 11/24/2021
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  • Docket(#9) CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE ORDER IN REASSIGNED CASE: Initial Case Management Conference set for 3/22/2022 01:30 PM in San Francisco, - Videoconference Only. Joint Case Management Statement due by 3/15/2022. Signed by Judge Edward M. Chen on 11/24/2021. (afm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/24/2021) (Entered: 11/28/2021)

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  • 11/08/2021
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  • Docket(#8) ORDER REASSIGNING CASE. Case reassigned using a proportionate, random, and blind system pursuant to General Order No. 44 to Judge Edward M. Chen for all further proceedings. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Illman no longer assigned to case, Notice: The assigned judge participates in the Cameras in the Courtroom Pilot Project. See General Order No. 65 and http://cand.uscourts.gov/cameras.. Signed by The Clerk on 11/8/21. (Attachments: #1 Notice of Eligibility for Video Recording)(ha, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/8/2021) (Entered: 11/08/2021)

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  • 11/05/2021
  • Docket(#7) CLERK'S NOTICE OF IMPENDING REASSIGNMENT TO A U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: The Clerk of this Court will now randomly reassign this case to a District Judge because either (1) a party has not consented to the jurisdiction of a Magistrate Judge, or (2) time is of the essence in deciding a pending judicial action for which the necessary consents to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction have not been secured. You will be informed by separate notice of the district judge to whom this case is reassigned. ALL HEARING DATES PRESENTLY SCHEDULED BEFORE THE CURRENT MAGISTRATE JUDGE ARE VACATED AND SHOULD BE RE-NOTICED FOR HEARING BEFORE THE JUDGE TO WHOM THIS CASE IS REASSIGNED. This is a text only docket entry; there is no document associated with this notice. (glm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/5/2021) (Entered: 11/05/2021)

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  • 11/04/2021
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  • Docket#Electronic filing error. NOTICE TO COUNSEL: Paul Karl Lukacs. The docket shows a different address from what is appearing on the document. Please update your personal prof ile on ECF. Re: #1 Complaint, filed by Karen Umberger, Scott Willits, Teresa MacClelland (anj, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/4/2021) (Entered: 11/04/2021)

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  • 11/04/2021
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  • Docket(#6) Initial Case Management Scheduling Order with ADR Deadlines: Case Management Statement due by 1/25/2022. Initial Case Management Conference set for 2/1/2022 02:00 PM in McKinleyville, Telephone Conference Only. (anj, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/4/2021) (Entered: 11/04/2021)

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  • 11/04/2021
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  • Docket(#5) Summons Issued as to Cellco Partnership, Verizon Communications Inc.. (anj, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/4/2021) (Entered: 11/04/2021)

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  • 11/04/2021
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  • Docket(#4) CONSENT/DECLINATION to Proceed Before a US Magistrate Judge by Teresa MacClelland, Karen Umberger, Scott Willits.. (Hattis, Daniel) (Filed on 11/4/2021) (Entered: 11/04/2021)

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  • 11/04/2021
  • Docket(#3) Case assigned to Magistrate Judge Robert M. Illman. Counsel for plaintiff or the removing party is responsible for serving the Complaint or Notice of Removal, Summons and the assigned judge's standing orders and all other new case documents upon the opposing parties. For information, visit E-Filing A New Civil Case at http://cand.uscourts.gov/ecf/caseopening.Standing orders can be downloaded from the court's web page at www.cand.uscourts.gov/judges. Upon receipt, the summons will be issued and returned electronically. Counsel is required to send chambers a copy of the initiating documents pursuant to L.R. 5-1(e)(7). A scheduling order will be sent by Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) within two business days. Consent/Declination due by 11/18/2021. (anj, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/4/2021) (Entered: 11/04/2021)

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  • 11/03/2021
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  • Docket(#2) Proposed Summons. (Hattis, Daniel) (Filed on 11/3/2021) (Entered: 11/03/2021)

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  • 11/03/2021
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  • Docket(#1) COMPLAINT with Jury Demand(CLASS ACTION) against All Defendants ( Filing fee $ 402, receipt number ACANDC-16590840.). Filed by Karen Umberger, Teresa MacClelland, Scott Willits. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit A - CLRA Declarations, #2 Civil Cover Sheet)(Hattis, Daniel) (Filed on 11/3/2021) Modified on 11/4/2021 (anj, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 11/03/2021)

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