Kyla Asbury Oct. 5, 2014, 9:50pm

BILLINGS, Mont. (Legal Newsline) - AT&T has agreed to a $45 million settlement in a class action lawsuit alleging it violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, each class member can claim a share of the $45 million settlement fund.

"A class member shall receive payment for each call he or she received from [AT&T] or from an OCA acting on behalf of [AT&T] during the class period by submitting a short claim form," the Sept. 30 settlement document states.

The size of the per-call payment shall be determined on a pro rata basis of up to $500 per call, after the attorneys fees and costs, any incentive award to named plaintiff and any settlement administration costs are deducted from the settlement fund and the settlement administrator reviews all claim forms to determine a final number of claimants, according to the settlement document.

Class counsel will receive up to $15 million for attorneys fees and costs. Joel Hagerman will receive up to $20,000 as an incentive award.

Hagerman brought the putative class action in April 2013, alleging that AT&T had violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act by placing calls using an automatic telephone dialing system and/or an artificial or prerecorded voice message to cellular telephone numbers without the prior express consent of the call recipients.

AT&T contends that the calls made to members of the class were lawful, because many members of the class consented to receiving such calls from AT&T by providing their cellular telephone number as a can-be-reached number for AT&T's customer accounts.

AT&T contends that the dialing systems it and its outside collection agencies did not constitute an "automatic telephone dialing system" as that term is defined in the TCPA

"[AT&T] also contends that any calls it made to these can-be-reached numbers were made in a good-faith belief that consent had been granted for each call and, furthermore, any errors that might have been made were inadvertent," the document states. "

Hagerman is represented by John Heenan of Bishop & Heenan; Keith Keogh of Keogh Law Ltd.; and Benjamin Bingham of Bingham & Lea PC.

AT&T was represented by Theodore A. Livingston of Mayer Brown LLP.

The case is assigned to District Judge Dana L. Christensen.

U.S. District Court for the District of Montana case number: 1:13-cv-00050

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