Defendants Did Not Violate Do Not Call TCPA Rule

Klein Moynihan Turco LLP

Klein Moynihan Turco LLP

On January 8, 2024, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri issued a decision involving Telephone Consumer Privacy Act (“TCPA”) internal Do-Not-Call rule (“DNC”) allegations. As our readership is aware, the TCPA is a federal statute designed to protect consumer privacy by restricting the transmission of certain types of telemarketing communications. One of the requirements of the TCPA provides that: “[a] person or entity making . . . any call for telemarketing purposes must maintain a record of a consumer’s request not to receive further calls. A do-not-call request must be honored for 5 years from the time the request is made.” Violations of the TCPA rule’s internal DNC provision may result in damages of up to $1,500 per incident

In Thompson v. Genesco, Plaintiff alleged that he was entitled to statutory damages because Defendant had sent him numerous text messages in violation of the TCPA’s internal DNC rule. The Court held that, for Plaintiff to establish his claim, he must have first asked to be placed on Defendant’s internal DNC list. Because Plaintiff did not allege that he asked Defendant to be placed on its internal DNC list, he could not properly claim injury under the TCPA’s internal DNC provisions. 

How did the Court Resolve the TCPA Rule Internal DNC Claim? 

In order for any court to evaluate the merits of a claim under federal law, it must first establish that it has jurisdiction to do so. Because Plaintiff brought his claims under the internal DNC rule of the TCPA, a federal statute, he had to establish Article III standing. In order to establish Article III standing, plaintiffs must “show that they satisfy three specific conditions: that they have suffered a cognizable injury, that the injury is ‘fairly traceable to the defendant’s allegedly unlawful conduct,’ and that the injury is likely to be redressed by the requested relief.” 

The Court found that Plaintiff had suffered cognizable harm when he received unwanted marketing text messages because his seclusion and privacy had been intruded upon. The Court also found that because a violation of TCPA rules results in damages of between $500 to $1500, Plaintiff’s requested relief could make him whole. However, the Court determined that Plaintiff did not adequately trace his alleged injury to Defendant’s acts. 

To satisfy the second Article III standing prong, a plaintiff must show that his injury resulted from the illegal conduct of the defendant. In Thompson, Plaintiff’s claim was problematic because he could not establish that his injury stemmed from Defendant’s challenged conduct. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant contacted him numerous times, constituting repeated violations of the TCPA’s rule on maintaining an internal DNC list. Yet, Plaintiff failed to mention in his pleadings that he requested to be placed on Defendant’s internal DNC list. As the Court put it, “[t]here’s no remotely plausible causal chain linking the failure to maintain an internal do-not-call list to the phone calls received by class members who never said [that] they didn’t want to be called again.” 

Because Plaintiff failed to establish Article III standing, the Court found that it did not have federal jurisdiction over his claims. 

Why is Thompson Important to Your Business? 

Alleging failure to establish Article III standing is only one of multiple methods to challenge TCPA rule claims at the early stages of litigation proceedings. 

Businesses should retain telemarketing law attorneys that are experienced in defending against claims involving ever-changing state and federal telemarketing regulations.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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