Mississippi Republican Attorney General Lynn Fitch speaks of the duty and service offered by correction officers and staff during an Officers Memorial Service at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl, Miss., Tuesday, May 9, 2023. The ceremony honored the men and women who were killed in the line of duty. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Attorney General Fitch announced the first lawsuits filed against companies violating the Mississippi Telephone Solicitation Act since responsibility for the state’s telemarketing laws was transferred to her office from the Public Service Commission.
The Mississippi Legislature transferred the responsibility for overseeing the state’s telemarketing laws through the Mississippi No Call Program and the No-Call list, database or registry from the Public Service Commission to the Attorney General’s Office during the 2023 session. That law – HB 1225 – as signed by Governor Tate Reeves went into effect July 1st.
The law also gave the Attorney General’s Office authority to file suit against violators in Chancery Court.
On Wednesday, just four days after the new law took effect, Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced that her office had filed lawsuits against two companies, The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation and NaturaLawn of America, for violating the Mississippi Telephone Solicitation Act. Fitch’s office says that together, the two companies made nearly 1,000 unauthorized calls to Mississippians on the Do Not Call Registry.
“Telemarketing calls are more than an inconvenience, they are often the gateway to scams,” said Attorney General Fitch in a statement announcing the action. “Protecting Mississippians from robocalls has long been a priority of my office, and I appreciate the Legislature giving us these new tools to investigate and prosecute those who willfully ignore and violate our telemarketing laws.”
Fitch is no stranger to handling such cases and investigations. As Attorney General, she has served as an Executive Committee Member of the multistate Robocall Technology Working Group and as a member of the Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force Committee.
Public Service Commission Chairman Dane Maxwell was a staunch advocate for the legislation that transferred the responsibilities over to the Attorney General. Maxwell said having the Attorney General’s Office oversee these cases makes sense given that it is the Attorney General who has the power to prosecute those who victimize citizens using scam phone calls and engage in unregistered phone solicitations.
“I am excited to hear about Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s recent lawsuits against two companies for violating the Mississippi Telephone Solicitation Act,” Southern District Commissioner Maxwell told Magnolia Tribune. “It was a great success of the 2023 Legislative Session to transfer this authority to the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, and these lawsuits are an example of good government and a more efficient process in dealing with entities and individuals who show no regard for our state’s laws.”