I just got sued by DirecTV for an FCC violation. They want to settle for $10k. do i have any recourse?
1 Answer from Attorneys
The answer depends entirely on the type of violation that DirecTV cited in the lawsuit. The Communications Act of 1934, as amended, does give standing to private causes of actions (lawsuits) for violation of the Act. Based upon the fact that it is DirecTV that is suing, and without further details on the merits of the claims in the lawsuit, the violation likely involves either interference or interruption of satellite service or frequency. DirecTV operates under the Ku Band of Satellite services, so if you see that language the violation is likely about frequency interruption.
As for the Settlement offer, it is just that - and you are not compelled to take it. Your other recourse is to fight the lawsuit in court. If you have been sued under the Communication Act, you have a limited time to answer the lawsuit and raise your defenses and counterclaims, if any. It is best to seek the services of an attorney so that the case can be reviewed and counsel can be sought on the settlement offer and if it is a good or bad offer in your particular case. One of the first things you should be ready to give the attorney is a copy of the lawsuit and an written statement of your version of the facts. This will expedite intake of your case and the legal issues. Include any demand letters or letters you received from DirecTV prior to the lawsuit. Time is of the essence in these matters.
One final point, be clear with any potential legal counsel that you may engage to tell them if the case involves "cloning" or possessing/using a "pirate" chip or card of DirecTV to gain unauthorized access to programming from the begining. Those types of cases can be Civil and/or Criminal under federal statutes. It depends on the circumstances, and may be left to DirecTV to decide which way to go in terms of Civil or Criminal. There was a period of time that such lawsuits were more common, and DirecTV was working with law enforcement, to crack-down on these types of cases. Cloning and using pirated access cards and chips is a more serious violation of the Act and should not be sloughed off. In these types of cases, a $10K USD may, and I repeat may, be a good alternative. Again it depends on the facts and the claims in the lawsuit.
Best of Luck,
Edward A. Maldonado, Esq.