On August 6, 2018, U.S. District Judge William J. Martini certified a state-wide class of thousands of relatives, children, wives, mothers and brothers of New Jersey inmates who were overcharged up to 100 times the market rate for phone calls. The lawsuit began in August 2013, alleging that the phone charges were unconscionable and violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause and various other aspects of New Jersey and federal law. The plaintiffs are represented by James A. Plaisted and Justin P. Walder of Pashman Stein and James Ceechi and Lindsey Taylor of Carella, Byrne. The defendant is Global Tel Link Corp. and its subsidiaries.
The class includes those relatives of prisoners who were incarcerated in a New Jersey prison or correctional institution from 2006 to 2016 and used the phone system provided by the defendants. The relatives, friends and family of prisoners were required to set up a payment account to talk with their loved ones who were in a New Jersey prison using the defendant’s Advance Pay system. Those affected by the defendant’s rates estimate they were overcharged more than $150 million over the class period; damages may be trebled at trial.
The case will now proceed to trial.
Click here to read the Hon. William Martini’s opinion in Bobby James et al. v. Global Tel Link Corp. et al., case number 2:13-cv-04989, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.