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Appeals Court Affirms Lower Court Ruling in TCPA Vicarious Liability Text Message Case

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed a summary judgment in favor of defendants in a class-action lawsuit that were being sued because a company three steps removed from them was guilty of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

A trio of payday lenders participated in a marketing campaign with a company called LeadPile. LeadPile contracted with a separate company, which contracted with another separate company, to generate leads by sending unsolicited text messages to individuals.

The plaintiff in this case, Flemming Kristensen, was one of those individuals, who then sued the three lenders and the two marketing companies, saying they were just as liable as the company that violated the TCPA by sending the text messages.

A copy of the ruling can be accessed here.

Because the lenders did not enter into a contract with the company that violated the TCPA and because the company that the lenders entered into a contract with did not enter into a contract with the company that violated the TCPA, vicarious liability does not apply, the Appeals Court ruled.

Because the plaintiff provided no evidence to support the claim that any of the primary parties knew that the sender of the text messages was violating the TCPA, there was no basis for the suit to proceed.

 

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