LUVERNE, Ala. (CN) - A group of companies selling magazine subscriptions exploited a mentally retarded Alabama man, charging him more than $16,000 in magazine subscriptions, the victim's guardian claims in court.
Earl Saunders Jr., as guardian and next friend of William Saunders III, filed suit last week in Crenshaw County Circuit Court against Central Subscription Services, Manatee Entertainment Resources, Sunset Pub and Pacific Beach Readers Club.
According to the Nov. 17 complaint, the defendants contacted William Saunders III, "an incapacitated person with mental retardation," starting in 2009 in attempt to sell him subscriptions to their magazines.
Williams indicated to the companies that he was "slow" and had no need for the magazines, but the defendants were undeterred in their efforts.
From the complaint: "Each Defendant represented to William Peyton Saunders, III, that he needed their magazines and that if he purchased their magazines, William Peyton Saunders, III, would learn to read and write on a normal level and that his mental condition would improve."
Based on these representations made by the magazine companies, William did in fact purchase their magazines.
In 2014, however, he learned that "despite trying to read all of the magazines he had purchased, he would never be able to read or write on a normal level and that his mental condition would not improve."
At that point, he had been charged more than $16,000 by defendants for a variety of different subscriptions.
The complaint specifically alleges fraud, misrepresentation and negligence against the companies, claiming they each knowingly made false statements to the victim in order to solicit his purchases.
"The representations made by Defendants to the Plaintiff were false and Defendants knew they were false when made, and Plaintiff reasonably relied upon the false representations to his detriment," the complaint states.
As a result, William Saunders III suffered the loss of his money, as well as "mental and emotional distress," the complaint claims.
Saunders' guardian, Earl Saunders Jr. is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
He is represented by Christopher Sanspree and Chris Money of Montgomery, Ala.
Representatives of the defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.