WHAT IS A TCPA SERIAL LITIGANT?
Also known as repeat plaintiffs, these are individuals who have filed numerous lawsuits alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (‘TCPA”). They are located all across the country and sue in both state and federal courts. These parties are often self-proclaimed TCPA serial litigants and do not shy away or hide from their litigious history. Often, these individuals appear pro-se, meaning they represent themselves without counsel, regardless of whether or not they are actually licensed attorneys.
There is no law or rule prohibiting an individual from being a serial litigant. However, there are instances where courts have dismissed cases filed by serial TCPA plaintiffs specifically because they repeatedly bring TCPA cases – with judges finding that no harm was suffered by parties that deliberately received unsolicited calls or texts. In fact, serial litigants are so common in the TCPA space that there are websites that allow users to search databases for information on these individuals (including their phone numbers).
WHY ARE THEY DANGEROUS?
Unlike the “typical” plaintiff who may have limited knowledge of the laws under which his/her/its attorney may sue or knowledge of how the legal process works, TCPA serial plaintiffs certainly do. Because they have done this before, serial TCPA litigants have at least a fundamental understanding of how to exploit the statute.
TCPA serial litigants employ several strategies with the hope of baiting companies into violating the TCPA. Some common “honey pot” methods include: (1) owning multiple cell phone numbers; (2) using dynamic IP addresses; (3) providing false information when signing up on a website; and (4) having friends and family in different states sign up on sites on their behalf.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST A SERIAL TCPA LITIGANT?
First and foremost, the best defense against a TCPA lawsuit is to ensure that you have prior express written consent for all individuals who you intend to call or text via automated means.
Second, having the right attorneys to assist you is also critical. Defending a TCPA case is a very complicated undertaking. Having experienced counsel to assist with your defense can be the difference between a case costing $5,000 and $500,000, or even more. The right legal counsel will likely also have experience and knowledge in dealing with the specific TCPA serial plaintiff, as well as knowledge about how serial litigants generally work.
The attorneys at Klein Moynihan Turco have represented individuals and businesses in countless TCPA lawsuits brought by serial litigants. If you or your business find yourself on the receiving end of a TCPA lawsuit and you need assistance, please e-mail us at email@example.com, or call us at (212) 246-0900.
The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.
Photo by Claire Anderson on Unsplash
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