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The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 was well-meaning legislation, attempting to protect consumers from unwanted telephone solicitation. But it appears that some lawyers are abusing the act to shake down businesses for settlements. This is similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which has a noble purpose but has been a bonanza for some lawyers. (Theodore Pinnock is a San Diego lawyer who got disbarred for abusing disabilities act lawsuits.)

On August 9, Austin Maxwell of Manhattan Beach filed suit in federal court against Cohn Restaurant Group and one of its 24 restaurants.

Maxwell complains that on June 27, he phoned a Cohn restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter, the Melting Pot, to make a reservation. He was asked his cell phone number, he says. He received a text message that his table was ready. But he had never consented to receiving a text message from that restaurant, and the message was not for emergency purposes. The restaurant used an automatic telephone dialing system — another violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Maxwell charges.

Receiving the brief text message cost him money, complains Maxwell, and was an invasion of his privacy. Maxwell's law firm, Martin & Bontrager of Los Angeles, has filed several such suits, including against big banks and corporations. It boasts its lawyers are "tenacious consumer rights advocates." It claims it recently got a $150,000 settlement from a major national bank.

Maxwell is filing a putative class-action suit. He says he is filing on behalf of others who have suffered such alleged indignities.

David Cohn, head of Cohn Restaurant Group, says he would rather not comment.

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JustWondering Aug. 21, 2017 @ 7:51 a.m.

I'm just wondering by volunteering your cell number to a business where, in this case, you've made a dinner reservation it seems the service of receiving a text message would be a positive convenience not a negative invasion.

Yet this lawyer and his law firm will twist and contort the law to extort money from legitimate businesses. Sadly, it will take numerous "victims" before the Courts wise up to this money-making scheme.

In the end, it will be Cohn's customers who will pay these costs. And people wonder why lawyers have earned the reputation as pond scum bottom feeders.


Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2017 @ 12:17 p.m.

JustWondering: Yes, getting a text message should be a convenience, if you have text service. I hope the judge in this case sees through this. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2017 @ 12:20 p.m.

Ern Batavia: Love of money is the root of all evil, but the lawyers who rake in big money defending greedy crooks deserving prison -- or taking advantage of well-meaning legislation -- are right up there on the evil list. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2017 @ 12:21 p.m.

Thomas Weller: I can't disagree with your assessment. Best, Don Bauder


Wabbitsd Aug. 21, 2017 @ 12:58 p.m.

And now we all know this lawyer's name and the name of his shyster law firm. Free publicity.


MURPHYJUNK Aug. 22, 2017 @ 7:29 a.m.

publish his home address too, since he has the same onfo on the persons he serves .


Don Bauder Aug. 22, 2017 @ 7:49 a.m.

Murphyjunk: Martin & Bontrager is at 6464 W. Sunset Blvd, Suite 960, LA 90028. Best, Don Bauder


MURPHYJUNK Aug. 22, 2017 @ 10:54 a.m.

they work out of the ciabatta bread store or the juice bar ?


Don Bauder Aug. 26, 2017 @ 11:11 a.m.

Murphyjunk: Probably a small room. Best, Don Bauder


ICare Aug. 23, 2017 @ 5:33 p.m.

Thanks for the address of this greedy man. Of all the businesses to sue, David and Leslie Cohn and their restaurants are wonderful business people and so generous in our community. We all hate ROBO calls but don't sue cuz of it.


MURPHYJUNK Aug. 24, 2017 @ 7:49 a.m.

his home address made public would give him pause


Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2017 @ 4:17 p.m.

Wabbitsd: Free publicity may have elected our current president. Ponder that. Best, Don Bauder


JustWondering Aug. 21, 2017 @ 4:31 p.m.

I disagree. It was Hillary's arrogance, sense of entitlement and lack of a coherent message that lost her the election. But now we're way off topic unless we equate the corrupt practice of law in this instance by Mr. Maxwell and corrupt practice of politics by Mrs. Clinton.


NewToMe Aug. 21, 2017 @ 5:02 p.m.

Thank you JustWondering for saying what needs to be said more often.


Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2017 @ 8:35 p.m.

JustWondering: I agree that Hillary was a poor candidate. There is another possibility: that the Russians tampered with the voting machines, or the voting process, in the three key states that Trump narrowly won: Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Best, Don Bauder


JustWondering Aug. 22, 2017 @ 6:02 p.m.

There is no evidence of tampering with voting machines in any state where an audit has been conducted. In addition, in Wisconsin, where a vote recount occurred, President Trump acquired more votes than the original tally.



Don Bauder Aug. 26, 2017 @ 11:13 a.m.

JustWondering: Yes, up to NOW there is no such evidence. But the investigation is not complete. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder Aug. 21, 2017 @ 8:37 p.m.

NewToMe: I agree that Hillary was a poor candidate. Trump collected votes by pretending to be a populist in the Bernie Sanders sense. Of course, we now know that he was no such thing. He has reversed himself already on so many of his positions. His campaign was just a series of lies. Best, Don Bauder


JustWondering Aug. 23, 2017 @ 11:44 a.m.

Don: I know you are not naïve, being so worldly and wise. So please don't tell us this the first time you've ever heard of an elected politician changing their position, or as an office holder, lying.

A partial definition of politician is: a person who acts in a manipulative and devious way. Maybe Mr. Maxwell, the lawyer and his lawsuit described above, are just being political....

Nah, it's just a money grab, using a legal extortion tactic, by manipulating the law, and practiced by a devious human being who has no moral center.


Don Bauder Aug. 26, 2017 @ 11:17 a.m.

JustWondering: There is a difference between being the typical political liar and being a psychotic narcissist who is actually dangerous, no matter what his political views. Best, Don Bauder


AlexClarke Aug. 22, 2017 @ 6:06 a.m.

The two worst possible presidential candidates in history. The electorial college should go. The election is proof that there is no limit to human stupidity.


Don Bauder Aug. 22, 2017 @ 7:51 a.m.

AlexClarke: It would be difficult to abolish the electoral college. A political party that uses it to its advantage would never go for it. Best, Don Bauder


Flapper Aug. 25, 2017 @ 10:01 p.m.

Just recently witnessed ze wurst production of Hamlet I've ever seen. I can't be certain, but I believe the passage calling for dissin' the lawyers was extirpated. With mutilators like that running around, there's little hope for a lone booer in a sea of standing ovationers.


Don Bauder Aug. 26, 2017 @ 11:53 a.m.

Flapper: Maybe somebody excised that line from Hamlet and Shakespeare put it in King Henry VI, where it has always been. Best, Don Bauder


danfogel Aug. 27, 2017 @ 8:18 a.m.

don bauder,

I believe it was actually Henry VI Part 2, in Act IV, Scene 2. Yes, I know. Only a minor detail.

"The more I think about it, Old Billy was right Let's kill all the lawyers, kill 'em tonight"


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