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Google Call Recording Isn’t Fit for Federal Court

(CN) - A California state court should determine whether Google and TeleTech Services must face a class action over allegedly recorded marketing calls, a federal judge ruled.

Lead plaintiff David Calkins sued the companies in Santa Clara County Superior Court, claiming that they record customer service calls without permission.

The complaint alleges that, three days after Calkins registered for Google's AdWords service, he received two separate phone calls from TeleTech customer service representatives and had no idea the calls were being recorded.

Calkins, who hopes to represent a class of at least 500 members, said the recordings violate California Penal Code, entitling each member of the class to statutory damages of $5,000 per call.

TeleTech removed the action to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in February 2013 under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), but Calkins claimed that Teletech has not met its burden and that the court must remand the action under CAFA's local controversy exception.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar agreed last week.

"First, Calkins has showed that more than two-thirds of the proposed class members likely are California citizens," Tigar wrote. "Second, Calkins has showed that at least one defendant whose conduct forms a significant basis for the claims asserted, and from whom significant relief is sought, is a citizen of California. No party disputes that Google is a citizen of California."

Finally, most of the alleged class injuries occurred in California, according to the ruling.

"Calkins has shown that the principle injuries at issue occurred in California, as the class definition includes only individuals who received calls 'in California,'" Tigar wrote.

Since the allegations furthermore do not qualify as a question of national importance, under California penal code, they cannot be tried nationwide, the court found.

"For this reason, even if TeleTech made nationwide calls on Google's behalf, the court concludes that the principle injuries in this case were suffered in California," Tigar wrote.

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