A still from the "Last Ounce of Courage" promotional trailer.
In St. Louis on Thursday, U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber
awarded $32.4 million in damages to 3.2 million people who received robocalls in 2012 voiced by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports
The calls, which promoted a Christian movie called "Last Ounce of Courage
," were unsolicited advertisements that violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act,
the judge ruled in August.
Huckabee was initially
named in the class-action lawsuit but was later dropped as a defendant.
That left as defendants Gabriel Joseph III, a marketing entrepreneur
with affiliated companies named AIC Communications and Freeeats.com Inc., and James R. Leninger, a Texas billionaire who funded the marketing of "Last Ounce of Courage."
Although a jury found
in August that Leninger should not be held liable for the calls, Judge Webber ruled at that trial that Joseph and his companies had clearly violated the TCPA. Thursday's order only concerned the damages. The Post-Dispatch notes that Webber could have awarded up to $500 per call under the TCPA but said that a $1.6 billion award would have been "wholly disproportionate to the offense and obviously unreasonable." He instead opted for a penalty of $10 per call, or around $32 million.