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Saugus man suing for robocall

Man says he received illegal campaign call

Posted: December 8, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 8, 2013 2:00 a.m.

A Saugus man is suing a former school board candidate over a campaign robocall he claims was illegally placed before last November’s election.

Robert Arkow filed the suit, alleging that he received an illegal robocall to his cellphone during the course of the campaign, each with a message to vote for Chris Trunkey, who was running for a seat on the Saugus Union School District board.

Robocalls are phone calls made using an auto-dialer to deliver pre-recorded messages. They can be common in both advertising and political campaigns.

Arkow said the call he received is illegal because they were made to his cellphone without his consent, which he alleges violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

“The law says that basically you can’t call a cellphone with a robocall unless you have permission,” Arkow said in a phone interview. “The burden of proof is on him that I gave him permission to call my cellphone.”

Arkow also said the robocall he received left no way to get in touch with Trunkey, which could be another violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

In Arkow’s claim, which he filed Nov. 22, he is seeking $3,000 as recompense.

Reached by phone, Trunkey acknowledged that he was aware of the suit but said he could not comment extensively on it.

“I don’t think the claims that he’s making have any basis and I will defend myself vigorously,” Trunkey said.

Trunkey also did not comment on whether robocalls were made on his behalf or were part of his campaign leading up to the Nov. 5 election.

Arkow is no stranger to robocalls, or to the courtroom, for that matter. The self-described anti-robocall activist has taken many similar claims to court in the past, including a successful suit against Bank of America and a pending action against Time Warner.

Just last year, shortly after the 2012 elections, Arkow sued both the California Labor Federation and his own labor union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 45, for allegedly placing illegal robocalls.

“It is a passion of mine,” Arkow said. “I’m sick of it and I’m not alone.”

Trunkey was narrowly defeated in the November election for the Saugus Union School District.


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