TCPA Class Action Round-up

Here is a look at four recent class-action lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA):

In Friedman v. Torchmark Corp., decided on April 16, 2013 in the Southern District of California, the court dismissed a class action-lawsuit because a prerecorded telephone call inviting the plaintiff to view a free recruiting webinar was construed as an offer of employment, not as an unsolicited advertisement or telephone solicitation. Calls made for a non-commercial purpose to land lines do not require express consent, and the court found that an invitation to a webinar was a non-commercial call.

In Hurst v. Mauger, decided on April 16, 2013 in the Northern District of Illinois, the plaintiff sued a payment processor whose website was contained in an unsolicited text message. Even though the payment processor earned a commission on the advertised transaction, the court granted summary judgment to the payment processor because it was not legally responsible for a text message sent its client, the seller of a product to the plaintiff. The payment processor "undisputedly received some benefit from the sale" but according to the court, that benefit did not rise to such a level that the text messages could be said to have been sent "on behalf of or for the benefit of" that defendant.

In Emanuel v. The Los Angeles Lakes, Inc., decided on April 18, 2013 in the Central District of California, a class-action lawsuit against the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team over a single unsolicited text message was dismissed. Incredibly, the text message in question was a thank you sent by the Lakers in response to the plaintiff, who sent in a text message of his own hoping to have it displayed on the scoreboard during a Lakers game.

A newly filed case worth watching is Dominguez v. Yahoo!, Inc., filed on April 10, 2013 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff's new cell phone number received 4700 unwanted text messages from Yahoo! because the phone's prior owner had signed up for them. Plaintiff made multiple complaints to Yahoo! and the FCC but Yahoo! refused to stop the texts. Yahoo!'s customer service supervisor allegedly said "sue me", and the plaintiff did just that. At $500 per violation times 4700 potential violations, Yahoo!'s epic customer service fail could end up being very costly.

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