There appears to be a new way for an individual to revoke consent to be contacted under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act: filing a lawsuit against a collection agency.
According to Eric Troutman, a partner at the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney, this appears to be the first time that a judge has ruled that filing a lawsuit “operates to revoke consent as a matter of law.” In fact, Troutman, noted, a federal judge in California has granted partial summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit based on this very ruling.
A copy of the ruling can be accessed here.
The case involves allegations of violations of the TCPA, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the California Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The lawsuit was originally filed in June 2016, after one of the plaintiffs received phone calls related to a debt owed to a hospital. The plaintiff subsequently had another debt referred to the collection agency/defendant by the hospital in December 2016, nearly six months after the suit was filed. The judge ruled that the service of the lawsuit was sufficient to revoke consent to be contacted for “all debts” which the plaintiff allegedly owed.
Since I’m a curious fellow, I pulled the complaint at issue and was intrigued to learn that it did not allege the phone number being called. Yet the Court still found that the service of the complaint immediately effectuated a revocation of consent, even though Defendant and its counsel may not have learned what number was at issue until days or weeks later. Keep that in mind folks—time is of the essence here. Obtaining the number at issue from counsel and stopping calls to the number at issue must be done promptly to avoid further exposure. If Counsel won’t play ball, make sure to alert the Court to that bad faith conduct.