Target settles class-action lawsuit filed by Clinton woman for $2.3M

Target settles class-action lawsuit filed by Clinton woman for $2.3M

By Brad Petrishen, March 24, 2020

WORCESTER – A subsidiary of Target has agreed to pay nearly $2.3 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by a Clinton woman who alleged it engaged in illegal debt collection practices.

Target Enterprise Inc., a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Target Corp., will pay $7,500 to the woman and about $300 to each of 5,484 other Massachusetts residents, court records show.

The settlement, approved Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman in Worcester, comes two years after Boston lawyers for Gabrielle Carlson of Clinton sued Target alleging the national retailer broke state law surrounding debt collection.

In a lawsuit originally filed in Worcester Superior Court, lawyers from Lemberg Law LLC alleged Target violated state law by placing more than two debt collection calls in seven days to Carlson and other state residents.

Former Attorney General Martha Coakley in 2011 deemed more than two calls or texts a week to be a violation of consumer protection law, even if the creditor uses a “predictive dialer” or does not leave a message.

Carlson’s lawsuit alleged Target called her at least six times in one week, and alleged the company engaged in a pattern of similar calls to other state residents.

Target, in agreeing to settle the lawsuit, admitted to no wrongdoing, court documents show. Lawyers for the company did not respond to an email Tuesday afternoon.

Sergei Lemberg, one of Carlson’s lawyers, said in an email that they are “extremely gratified the statute has been enforced and thousands of people will receive money.”

Lemberg’s firm will receive about $530,000 of the $2,275,000 settlement. It had requested $758,333 – a third of the settlement – but Judge Hillman on Monday, noting that the case was settled relatively quickly, awarded it 23% instead.

As a result, the 5,484 state residents who successfully filed claims last year after receiving settlement notices will each receive about $300 instead of $260.

The claims process was administered by KCC Class Action Services, which posted many of the court documents online. It will receive up to $82,000 of the settlement for its work.

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