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Washington Federal Court Finds Sufficient Allegations of Prerecorded Calls But Dismisses Claims for Treble Damages and Injunctive Relief

Recently, a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington granted in part a motion to dismiss a TCPA claim in a putative class action. The Court found that although the plaintiff plausibly alleged that he received multiple calls using a prerecorded voice, he did not sufficiently allege facts to support his request for either treble damages or injunctive relief. Blair v. Assurance IQ LLC, No. 2:23-00016-KKE, 2023 WL 6622415 (W.D. Wash. Oct. 11, 2023).

The plaintiff claimed that he received 12 unsolicited calls, one of which he answered, and three of which resulted in voicemails. He alleged that the latter four calls used a prerecorded voice “because of the tone, cadence, and timing of the speaker, which sounded unnaturally perfect,” and because all of the voicemails were “identical.” In its motion to dismiss, the defendant argued that the Court could not reasonably infer that the voice the plaintiff allegedly heard was either prerecorded or live because the plaintiff failed to specify “what about the tone, cadence, and timing” indicated that the call was prerecorded. The Court rejected this argument, however, finding that the allegation of an “unnaturally perfect” voice was enough at the pleadings stage to infer that it was artificial or prerecorded. The Court also held that although the plaintiff “could have expounded more” on how the voicemails were identical (e.g., the tone and cadence of the voice), the fact that the voicemails had “suspicious timing” (they were left at the exact same time on three separate days) and contained “generic content” (identical sales pitches) was enough to infer the use of an artificial or prerecorded voice.

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This Blog Goes to Eleven

Today marks ten years and counting of the FCC’s revised TCPA rules—and, not coincidentally, of this blog. Over the last decade, more than 50 contributors have shared more than 500 posts about the statute’s restrictions, the FCC’s rules and regulations, the states’ enactment of so-called “mini” TCPAs, and the many twists and turns in the seemingly endless stream of litigation—much of it concocted by a colorful cast of recurring characters—arising under all of them. We have enjoyed sharing our insights and meeting our readers, and we can’t wait to see what the next ten years will bring.