On April 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Facebook v. Duguid, which resolved a circuit split regarding the meaning of “automatic telephone dialing system” (autodialer or ATDS) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In a decision authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court adopted the narrow, pro-defendant definition of autodialer.… Continue Reading
TCPA class actions based on the receipt of unsolicited text messages have grown more common in recent years. However, the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Salcedo v. Hanna, may upend that trend by holding that a single unsolicited text message did not generate the harm necessary to satisfy Article III standing to sustain a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) claim.
In Salcedo, the Eleventh Circuit reviewed its own precedent, the legislative history of the TCPA, and the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016)—which concluded that plaintiffs must allege concrete injuries and could not … Continue Reading
Chicago-based litigators Sarah Zielinski and Jason Chrestionson bring us an update on the issue of individualized inquiry and Article III’s injury-in-fact requirement under the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins.
Earlier this year, the Northern District of Illinois declined to certify a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action even though the key issue in the case—whether class members had provided prior express written consent to receive prerecorded telemarketing calls—appeared to be a common question. In Legg. v. PTZ Insurance Agency, Ltd., it seemed apparent “that none of the proposed class members” provided prior express … Continue Reading
Telephone Consumer Protection Act litigators Sarah Zielinski, Laura Lange, and Shawna English bring us an update on the role the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins (previously covered here) played in the recent dismissal of a TCPA case in California federal district court for lack of standing. We’ll continue to monitor developments in the months to come.… Continue Reading
Historically, courts have grudgingly accepted the professional plaintiff in class action practice. As Judge Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit once said, in the context of a FCRA class action, the word professional “implies experience, if not expertise.” One law student note offered one possible strategy for arguing that professional plaintiffs are inadequate class representatives: focus on their relationship with class counsel.
In Donaca v. Dish Network, LLC, No. 11-cv-02910-RBJ-KLM, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19740 (D. Colo. Feb. 18, 2014), the District of Colorado offers another possible argument. Donaca involved alleged robocalls made in violation of the TCPA… Continue Reading
In Labou v. Cellco Partnership, No. 2:13-cv-00844-MCE-EFB, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26974 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 3, 2014), the named plaintiff sued cell phone company Verizon. She alleged that Verizon had used an automatic dialer to call her cell phone in an attempt to get her former brother-in-law to pay his cell phone bill, a practice that allegedly violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). And she sought to certify a class of everyone else Verizon had contacted with an automatic dialer.
There was a twist: the TCPA does not prohibit collection calls so long as the recipient is not … Continue Reading
It’s a tale as old as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA"): defendant Janssen Pharmaceuticals sent out a fax reporting on the reclassification of its drug Levaquin for insurance purposes. The plaintiff sued it for violating the TCPA, claiming the fax was an advertisement; Janssen responded that the content of the fax was informational. It won a motion to dismiss, but the court allowed the plaintiff to file an amended complaint.
At that point, Janssen moved the court to bifurcate discovery. But where the typical motion to bifurcate asks for merits discovery after class-related discovery, Janssen asked for … Continue Reading
Paul Karlsgodt (of the longstanding and outstanding Class Action Blawg) has published an article with the University of Denver Law Review’s Online Edition: Statutory Penalties and Class Actions: Social Justice or Legalized Extortion? Statutory Penalties is an excellent introduction to the problem of defending class actions based on statutory violations, and Karlsgodt’s focus on privacy litigation is a welcome one.
Among the most useful parts of his article, Karlsgodt provides a handy summary of the "annihilation argument" and how it’s currently received by the courts.
… Continue Reading
One argument raised in early class actions involving potentially annihilating statutory damages liability
This term, the Supreme Court will review several class action cases. In one of those, Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk (technically, an FLSA collective action, but a ruling either way will likely have wider significance) it will decide whether a defendant can moot a class action by offering full relief to a class representative. The case has received a lot of attention, in no small part because plaintiffs are worried about the practice of "picking off" named plaintiffs. On the other side, defendants would like to preserve one of the best tools they have for avoiding nuisance suits.
Last … Continue Reading
Like many cell-phone users, Jerome Damasco received an an unsolicited text message on his phone. Unlike many cell-phone users, he decided to make a federal case of it. So he filed a class action in federal court, alleging that Clearwire (the advertiser) had violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Faced with the complaint, Clearwire offered Damasco the full damages he sought as an individual. (It also offered to make the same payment to ten other unnamed individuals, suggesting that this may have been a technical glitch rather than a knowing TCPA violation.) It warned Damasco that it considered this … Continue Reading