The Eastern District of Missouri recently granted a plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment against three defendants in a TCPA fax case. Levine Hat Co. v. Innate Intelligence, LLC, No. 16-cv-01132, 2021 WL 1889869 (E.D. Mo. May 11, 2021). The court’s opinion discusses two areas of law with limited Eighth Circuit authority and illustrates the uncertainty regarding how district courts in the jurisdiction may rule on these issues in the future. Id. at *3-5. Specifically, the opinion discusses the analysis a court may apply to determine if a fax is an “unsolicited advertisement.” Id. at *3-4. The opinion also enumerates the factors a court may consider when assessing whether a “fax broadcaster” demonstrates a sufficiently “high degree of involvement” in the transmission of a fax to render it liable for the transmission. Id. at *3-5.
A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recently concluded that receipt of unwanted text messages in violation of the TCPA can constitute an injury-in-fact for purposes of Article III standing, but nevertheless dismissed the claim (without prejudice) pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) based on its threadbare allegations.
In Camunas v. National Republican Senatorial Committee, the plaintiff (Rolando Camunas) alleged that he received no less than six unsolicited text messages from the defendant (NRSC) asking him to donate to a political party. Civil Action No. 21-1005, 2021 WL 2144671, at *1 (E.D. Pa. May 26, 2021). In his complaint, Camunas described the messages as “generic and obviously pre-written” and alleged that they were sent using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS), in violation of the TCPA. Id.
The Fifth Circuit recently held that a TCPA plaintiff who received a single text message suffered an Article III injury sufficient to support standing for his claim. In Cranor v. 5 Star Nutrition, L.L.C., No. 19-51173, 2021 WL 2133433 (5th Cir. May 26, 2021), the plaintiff alleged that 5 Star Nutrition violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) when it sent him several unsolicited advertising text messages. The parties entered into a settlement agreement to avoid litigation. After the settlement, 5 Star Nutrition sent one final promotional text message and the plaintiff filed suit, claiming that the single text message harmed him by invading his privacy, interfering with his right to his cellular phone and telephone line, and intruding upon his seclusion.