St. Louis judge awards $32 million to robo call recipients

The Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a proposed rule that would make it easier for phone companies to crack down on robocalls.

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A federal judge in St. Louis has ordered a Virginia man and his companies to pay $32.4 million in damages for improper robo calls promoting a movie.

U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber says in the ruling Thursday that Gabriel Joseph III and his companies violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by making calls to more than 3.2 million recipients without their consent.

The calls made in 2012 promoted the movie “Last Ounce of Courage.” Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee narrated the calls but was dismissed from the lawsuit.

The attorney for the St. Louis County couple who filed suit on behalf of all call recipients says an appeal will seek the $500 per call penalty allowed by the law _ in this case, $1.6 billion.