The GreatCall Lively Mobile Plus Federal District Court lawsuit–and TTA

Eight emails and two comments later, your Editor wonders why the full court press on TTA. Our Readers may have noted that at the end of our last article on Best Buy [TTA 25 June] and their expansion into digital health, there was a brief reference to a recall of their subsidiary GreatCall’s Lively Mobile Plus and a related lawsuit:

This is not without pitfalls. Earlier this month, Best Buy was sued for a defect found in its GreatCall Lively MobilePlus mobile PERS that in action failed to detect falls as described, after GreatCall discontinued the device in mid-May in what a letter from their CEO David Inns described as an “important safety recall,” offering buyers a Jitterbug flip phone or a full refund. 

The link above was to a fairly comprehensive 3 June article in Mobihealthnews on a Federal District Court-Central District of California class action lawsuit filed by firm Bisnar Chase on 22 May on behalf of plaintiff Scott Barnes of San Luis Obispo, California (document via Mobihealthnews).

  • Mr. Barnes purchased the device on 21 April.
  • In early May, Mr. Barnes fell twice but the device did not detect the fall and automatically alert emergency services. Mr. Barnes is a disabled veteran and relied on the device to detect falls. The lawsuit states that he suffered unspecified damages as a result.
  • In a letter from David Inns as we noted above, GreatCall notified purchasers/subscribers dated 15 May (letter) that it was recalling all devices. It acknowledged fault in a quality issue. It also asked customers to stop using the device immediately and return it for a full refund plus additional considerations.

More on this is from a Morning Call (Allentown PA) article (picked up from the San Diego Union-Tribune) provided by Mr. Barnes to this Editor. It makes the cogent point that the device as a PERS did not require FDA 510(k) clearance. Fall detection does not fall under Class I or II medical device regulation as it does not monitor vital signs.

Mr. Barnes has written five separate emails to this Editor within less than ten minutes, with another three after our reply. Obviously, this matter is important to him. Moreover, our email is public and we welcome direct contact (including confidential contact) from our Readers with pertinent information. We also welcome comments on articles and don’t mind it being lively.

However, there were two comments at the end of our earlier article on Best Buy’s acquisition of Critical Signal Technologies that are, in the opinion of this Editor, marginal. One from ‘Scott’ implied that there was a relationship between this publication and Best Buy: “What is your companies relationship with the Recalled Great Call/Best Buy Mobile Lively Plus defective device that is now under a Federal Legal Action and Lawsuits.” (My answer was, of course, is that we report on these two companies, and other than that, have no relationship.) The other from ‘Kennie’ was phrased as ‘Be Warned’ and made certain assertions about the device and the company which have yet to be proved in court. This was published with some trepidation.

We ask commenters to be respectful of other Readers, of the facts, and understand that we report–and comment–as we see it.

Categories: Latest News and Opinion.


  1. Peter Mazure

    My GreatCall medical alert device has gone dead numerous times
    after being in the charger overnight. When I reported this to GreatCall
    I was told that I need a new device but the devices are back ordered and
    will not be available for 6-8 weeks. I was offered a flip phone with a 911 button
    and another charger to put the device in while sitting in the living room. This is
    not very effective, as I will not have the device on my person while moving about
    the house. I do not feel protected.

  2. Scott

    I have removed my self from the Federal Suit so I can pursue it faster in State Court, I still recommend Bisnar & Chase, LLP if you want to pursue them in Federal Court in the Class Action Suit, in addition several investigations are ongoing against their “Big Shot” Lawyers at DLA, Piper for fraud, perjury and threats do NOT be intimidated by them.

    File State Bar complaints and file suits, if you own any BBY shares dump them remember NO ONE is above the Law

    • Lisa Williams

      My father is a homebound veteran who is prone to falls and purchased this device with fall detection for his “life” may depend on it. It failed to go off after several falls…some falls required ambulatory and emergency room care. He has lied on the ground until someone came th o check on him. He has hit his head and experienced rapid decline. I called great call and they offered a flip phone and reimbursement…on behalf of my father I refused as how does he shower with a flip phone?….


    My husband Robert L. Willis has been a Great Call customer since 2015. Again the devise has stopped charging and will not work.. We have had to replace the devise once already. They offered to send the Jitterbug as a replacement but having had so many problems we decided to cancel the account. My husband suffers from Dementia and it was very important that we had something good to rely on.Is there a way to get compensation for all the problems we have had?
    Mrs. Robert Willis

    • Donna Cusano

      Sharon–I have replied to you privately on actions to take. Your comment is published here but edited to remove some personal information included.