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Plaintiff Called Out For ‘Ruse’ in TCPA Case, Ordered To Show Cause

A plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act has been called out by a federal judge and ordered to prove why his case is not meritless.

The plaintiff, Ken Johansen, admitted that he “posed” as an interested customer when contacted by National Gas & Electric and gave them a fake address and account number on purpose because he had no intention of signing up for the company’s service. Nonetheless, Johansen sued NG&E for contacting him in a purported violation of the TCPA.

But the judge in this case contends that the communications between Johansen and NG&E, which include a call made by Johansen to the defendant as well as the plaintiff expressing interest in purchasing the service, constitute an “established business relationship,” as defined by the TCPA, which would exempt NG&E from any wrongdoing.

The deceptive conduct provided the defendant with enough evidence to confirm that an established business relationship existed, even if the plaintiff had no plans on purchasing the service.

The lawsuit appears to be “based on a ruse,” according to Judge James L Graham of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The admissions from the plaintiff “cast serious doubts on his fitness to serve as an adequate class representative,” Judge Graham wrote in his ruling, and ordered Johansen to show cause in order to keep the lawsuit from being dismissed as meritless.


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