A New Jersey man is suing a prominent satellite dish company in a Sirius Class Action lawsuit that he says was orchestrated by a bait-and-switch scheme. Lead plaintiff Jeffrey Parrella claims that he received a flyer in the post in January offering him two free months of Sirius XM satellite service for a total cost of $99; but when he subsequently contacted customer support, nothing happened. He then began to wonder if the deal was a scam and went to legal counsel to begin a lawsuit. The company is countersuing, claiming that the facts presented by Parrella are not true and that he consented to the “free” service in January, without ever signing a form or agreement. The company is also claiming that the case is without merit and that it will prevail.
According to court documents, filed on March 7th in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Jeffrey Parrella is a defendant in an ongoing Sirius Class Action lawsuit. The complaint was later transferred to a U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan after a temporary restraining order was granted by the federal court in New Jersey. This order was later lifted on April 4th when the court found that the plaintiff failed to establish a genuine dispute over the terms of the “free” service. The motion to lift the restraining order was denied by the court on the grounds that Sirius has the right to operate under the conditions laid out in an “all clear” ruling by the court. Subsequently, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his case and requested that the case be dismissed without prejudice, which is a motion to dismiss which does not imply that the case will not proceed. On appeal from that denial, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the judgment.
The Third Circuit also ruled that there was no evidence that Sirius engaged in any wrongdoing or any violation of any federal law. Thus, the plaintiff’s class action lawsuit was again delayed. The delay resulted in yet another conflict between the federal court and the satellite radio company whereby the satellite company is demanding that the Federal Court to order the U.S. District Court to prevent the plaintiffs from enforcing their lawsuit against Sirius because it would violate the FCC’s ability to receive fees for using the automatic telephone dialing system (which is provided free of charge by the carrier).
On June 7th, Mr. Parrella filed a second lawsuit against Sirius. This time, he is seeking damages for the emotional distress, physical injuries, and other harms directly resulting from the defendants’ alleged misdeeds. This second lawsuit also seeks damages for the invasion of privacy brought about by the defendants’ allegedly illegal dialing system. Mr. Parrella is represented by his former attorney, Joseph I. Caputo. Mr. Caputo is not related to Mr. Parrella.
Mr. Parrella is not alone in his quest to obtain compensation for his injury; many similar lawsuits are being pursued by other victims of Sirius radio programming and telephone harassment. Many victims are seeking monetary compensation based on the alleged infringement of their constitutional right to freedom of speech and other legal claims. In these instances, it appears that the Sirius Class Action lawsuit may well have merit. If the Class Action lawsuit was to be allowed to proceed as a true class-based lawsuit, it could potentially provide substantial material support for the plaintiffs’ cause and enable those injured by Sirius to obtain monetary compensation on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that prospect is apparently remote, because the Sirius Class Action lawsuit is an unfair and deceptive attempt to force Sirius to disclose confidential information regarding its dialing practices.
For this reason, many Class Members is left with no other alternative but to rely on the judgment of the various district courts as well as the District Court of California, to determine whether or not the Sirius Class Action lawsuit should proceed as a legitimate class action lawsuit. The courts have shown an inclination to permit plaintiffs to pursue such lawsuits based upon the argument that the Class members have a legitimate claim based upon the facts of the case. However, there is no bright-line rule in determining whether a case should proceed as a class action lawsuit, and the courts invariably apply a double standard of review when reviewing class action lawsuits. Although the Sirius Class Action lawsuit has been found to have a probability of success, class members must bear this likelihood of disappointment.