President Trump’s Reelection Campaign’s Motion to Dismiss TCPA Suit Denied

On June 8, 2020, Judge John R. Tunheim of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota denied a motion to dismiss filed by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against President Trump’s reelection campaign, “Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.” (the “Campaign”) on October 18, 2019, for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).  Plaintiffs allege that the Campaign routinely sends text messages to private cell phones placed without the prior express consent of the users.  Plaintiffs have alleged that they have no affiliation with the Campaign, have never provided any donations to the Campaign, and have never attended any kind of Campaign event, which the text messages were advertising.  Plaintiffs allege that the unsolicited text messages were placed via an “automatic telephone dialing system” (“ATDS”), and by using an artificial or prerecorded voice, in violation of the TCPA.

On February 24, 2020, the Campaign filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.  Among other things, the Campaign argued that, because Plaintiffs have alleged that the Campaign uploaded lists of numbers, the Campaign’s system cannot qualify as an ATDS, or “autodialer,” under the TCPA.  The Campaign cited a recent Eleventh Circuit opinion that found that, in order to qualify as an autodialer, a system must randomly or sequentially generate numbers, and not use an uploaded database or stored list.  However, Judge Tunheim rejected this argument, agreeing with the Ninth and Second Circuits that there is no reason to limit the definition of an autodialer to one that generates numbers itself.  Accordingly, the Court denied the Campaign’s motion to dismiss.

In its June 8 order, the Court also dismissed the Campaign’s motion to compel arbitration and the Campaign’s argument that Plaintiffs lack standing because an unsolicited text message does not amount to an injury in fact.  The Court found that there is no marked difference between receipt of unsolicited text messages as opposed to unsolicited phone calls, and that such an injury is sufficient for standing purposes.  The Court further found that there was no enforceable agreement to arbitrate between Plaintiffs and the Campaign.

The legal team at SFMS has significant experience litigating consumer protection class action matters, including TCPA cases. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this posting, please contact John Roberts (jroberts@sfmslaw.com) or Alec Berin (aberin@sfmslaw.com). We can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP is a law firm with offices in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. SFMS is an active member of Integrated Advisory Group (www.iaginternational.org), which provides us with the ability to provide our clients with access to excellent legal and accounting resources throughout the globe. For more information about our firm, please call us (866) 540-5505 or contact us online.

Author: Jaclyn Reinhart

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