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Junk fax case before Georgia Supreme Court

In a case of spam mail gone awry, Atlanta based American Home Services finds itself back in business litigation proceedings over 'junk faxes." After hiring a company located in Texas to fax advertisements to businesses throughout the Metro Atlanta area, American Home Services found themselves in the first round of business litigation proceedings after A Fast Sign Co. filed suit against them for unsolicited faxes. Sending these types of faxes goes against a federal consumer law forbidding the faxing of unsolicited advertisements. Fulton County courts ruled that the unsolicited faxes were in violation of federal consumer laws and ordered a $1,500 judgment for all 306,000 junk fax recipients, which totaled $459 million.

The case went on to the Court of Appeals which overturned the initial $459 million judgment stating that the issue should be the number of faxes received over the number sent. Recently, the case moved from there to the Georgia Supreme Court, who is reviewing the Court of Appeals decision and hearing new arguments in the case. A Fast Sign Co. is seeking the reinstatement of the original $459 million judgment stating that the mere sending of unsolicited faxes causes damages and should be considered a violation of the law. American Home Services attorneys counter by suggesting that the mere act of sending a fax does not evoke damages if it is never received on the other end. The Georgia Supreme Court's decision will likely not be reached until later in the year.

Business litigation proceedings such as this can be time consuming and costly with court costs involved. Some people may question whether or not the issue of junk faxes warrants such lengthy and costly trials, because for many businesses, junk faxes are as common as spam emails. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) does regulate junk faxes, and has implemented the Junk Fax Prevention Act which took effect in 2005 establishing guidelines for fax advertising. Businesses in Atlanta, Georgia, who wish to advertise via fax may benefit from learning about the FCC's rules and regulations on fax advertising.

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Company asks court to reinstate $459 million judgment," Bill Rankin, May 7, 2012

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