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Ashland telemarketing suit fails to connect with judge

For reasons that included failing to provide Do Not Call list registration, a federal judge ruled against an Ashland man suing an out-of-state telemarketer.

Magistrate Judge Mustafa Kasubhai ruled against Jeff Madsen’s $27,000 lawsuit against telemarketer John Harris of Fernandina Beach, Florida, according to a document filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Medford.

The judge cited a lack of proof that Harris violated consumer protection laws when his business, Business Partner Services, called Madsen’s cellphone 18 times between July and October 2016.

Kasubhai noted that Madsen never submitted evidence he was listed on the FCC’s National Do Not Call Registry or complained to Oregon’s attorney general prior to filing the lawsuit in November 2016, and neither Madsen nor Harris offered definitive proof of automatic dialing and recordings, which are prohibited under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, according to Kasubhai.

Harris contributed to that lack of information, according to Kasubhai, because Harris, which the judge noted may be an alias for a Jonathan Ashford Parr, largely failed to respond to Madsen’s lawsuit or alert the court to address and phone number changes until late 2018.

Harris retained a lawyer in April 2018, after a judge warned him the month prior that any “continued refusal to respond or object may be treated as a concession of liability,” Kasubhai noted.

According to Kasubhai, Harris provided the court inconclusive answers as to whether his computer software dialed numbers from purchased lists or used randomly generated numbers.

Harris previously admitted to being an “affiliate re-sale marketer for a company called Turbo Wealth Solutions and using websites such as “SecretGoldRush.com” to solicit business, according to Kasubhai.

The judge also threw out Madsen’s claims alleging damages, noting that Madsen “fails to present evidence” he’s on either an Oregon or a national Do Not Call registry.

According to Kasubhai, Oregon law allows Do Not Call list recipients to collect $200 per violation against a telemarketer, but only after mailing a complaint to the attorney general at the time of the call. State law requires proof that the complaint was mailed to be filed in court record.

“Proof of mailing may be by affidavit or by return receipt of mailing,” Kasubhai cited from a section of Oregon Revised Statutes 646.638.

The judge’s findings will be referred to another judge prior to a final ruling, with the court granting both sides a two-week window to respond, and another two weeks for rebuttal.

Madsen’s case against Harris is separate from a similar lawsuit Madsen filed against Arizona-based telemarketers promoting Better Business Bureau-flagged job websites in July 2016. Records show Harris settled that suit with Justin Murray and James Arteca of Vibrant Web and VW Hosting Service for an undisclosed sum in April 2017.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.