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Dish Network ordered to pay $280M in 'robocall' lawsuit

Satellite TV provider placed "millions and millions" of calls in violation of Do Not Call laws, judge rules.

Dish ordered to pay $280M in 'robocall' lawsuit / Satellite TV provider placed 'millions and millions' of calls in violation of Do Not Call laws, judge rules.

Dish Network has been ordered to pay $280 million as part of a federal "robocall" lawsuit.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Dish Network has been ordered to pay $280 million in penalties as part of an 8-year-old "robocall" telemarketing lawsuit.

US District Judge Sue Myerscough for the Central Illinois District ordered the satellite television provider to pay $168 million to the US government and $112 million to four states for violating laws regarding the national Do Not Call registry. The number of calls amounted to "millions and millions," Myerscough wrote in her 475-page ruling.

"The evidence supports the conclusion that the pressure needs to be maintained to keep Dish's marketing personnel from reverting to their practice of trying to get around the rules," Myerscough wrote.

The Federal Trade Commission sued Dish in 2009, alleging the company's "robocalls," or automated messages, violated the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule. The agency's complaint was filed jointly with attorneys general from California, Illinois, Ohio, and North Carolina.

Dish didn't immediately respond to a request for comment but told Reuters in a statement it "respectfully disagrees with today's decision by the Court," and said that it will appeal the ruling. Dish added that the penalties "radically and unjustly exceed, by orders of magnitude, those found in the settlements in similar actions."

Myerscough said in her decision that the award was "not onerous," amounting to about one-fifth of Dish's 2016 after-tax profits.

The judge also ruled that Dish should create a long-term plan to ensure its compliance with the Do Not Call laws.

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