How Will the Supreme Court’s Spokeo Decision Affect TCPA Lawsuits?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

May 20, 2016

tcpa-lawsuitThis week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a potentially landmark ruling in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins (No. 13-3339), a case filed under the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (the “FCRA”) but expected to have much wider implications, including for Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) lawsuits.

Could Spokeo help defendants in TCPA lawsuits?

Spokeo Profile and FCRA Lawsuit

Spokeo, a “people search engine,” allows users to conduct a computerized search of an individual’s personal and contact information.  The plaintiff, alleging his Spokeo-generated profile contained inaccurate credit information, sued Spokeo, claiming that the company had violated the FCRA.

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California initially dismissed the complaint, holding that the plaintiff had failed to plead an injury in fact.  On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed, finding the allegations that Spokeo had violated his statutory rights sufficient to establish the plaintiff’s standing to bring the lawsuit.  Spokeo appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court (the “SCOTUS”).

Supreme Court’s Spokeo Decision

This week, SCOTUS reversed again, reaffirming the longstanding principle that standing in federal courts requires a “concrete” injury, even in the context of a statutory violation.  The Court stressed that allegations of “bare procedural violations” are not enough to establish federal court standing in the absence of allegations of actual harm, whether or not such harm is tangible.

Implications for TCPA Lawsuits

The TCPA – a federal consumer protection law like the FCRA – prohibits sellers and telemarketers from making/sending certain phone calls and/or text messages to a consumer without obtaining the consumer’s prior express consent.  Both statutes allow consumers to bring private actions against businesses that violate certain statutory provisions and, if successful, to collect either actual or statutory damages.

Since SCOTUS agreed to hear the case, Defendants in TCPA lawsuits across the country have referenced Spokeo to challenge the standing of TCPA plaintiffs.  Judges had stayed a number of these actions pending SCOTUS’ determination of the issues regarding federal court standing presented by Spokeo.

Sellers, telemarketers and text message marketers involved in TCPA lawsuits should consider whether this week’s Spokeo decision benefits their respective cases, as it may offer another possible defense to companies faced with a TCPA action, in addition to the many otherwise available.  It is important to note that the standing defense must be raised in the initial stages of litigation.  As such, if a business is served with a TCPA complaint, or is otherwise threatened with a lawsuit, it is critical to speak with an experienced telemarketing lawyer as soon as possible to determine whether the Spokeo ruling can help its TCPA defense.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, please visit the Telemarketing Law practice area of our website.  If you have been served with process for alleged TCPA violations, please e-mail us at info@kleinmoynihan.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.

Attorney Advertising

Related Blog Posts:

U.S. Supreme Court Makes Monumental Ruling in TCPA Class Action Lawsuit

Trump’s Campaign Hit with TCPA Lawsuits for Text Message Marketing

How to Defend a TCPA Lawsuit

 

David O. Klein

David O. Klein

David Klein is one of the most recognized attorneys in the telemarketing, technology, Internet marketing, sweepstakes and telecommunications fields. Skilled at counseling clients on a broad range of technology-related matters, David Klein has substantial experience in negotiating and drafting complex licensing, marketing and Internet agreements.

Schedule a Call
In The Know

Trending Topics

New York Sweepstakes Law blog- Klein Moynihan Turco

New York Sweepstakes Law: Are You Compliant?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In general, a lottery exists when entrants pay for the chance to win a prize. States alone reserve the right to administer lotteries. Businesses can eliminate one element of what would otherwise be an illegal lottery, in order to transform it into a legal promotional game. If the requirement to

TCPA surveys

An Ad or not an Ad: NY Weighs in on TCPA Surveys

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Another day, another court decision that refines constitutes a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) unsolicited fax advertisement. A Manhattan-based federal court recently issued a decision that removes faxed invitations to participate in a survey from the TCPA definition of advertisement. In drawing this distinction for TCPA surveys, the Court held

NY sports gambling law- Klein Moynihan Turco

Agreement Reached to Enact NY Sports Gambling Law

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature agreed to a budget deal that will bring mobile sports betting to the State through a unique NY sports gambling law.  Upon the Governor’s signature, NY sports gambling is primed to become the nation’s largest market. However, New York

UK and US Social Media Influencer Laws

UK and US Social Media Influencer Laws

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In September of 2020, the United Kingdom’s (“UK”) Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) reviewed the Instagram accounts of 122 UK-based social media influencers to determine whether content was being properly flagged as advertising in accordance with applicable social media influencer laws. This past March, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”)

Running a Telemarketing Business?

Get a Free Compliance Review From an Experienced TCPA Lawyer.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin