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Additional Information Requested By Plaintiff Leads To Class De-Certification in TCPA Suit

A federal judge in Illinois has decertified a class-action lawsuit alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act after an additional discovery request by the plaintiff revealed information was sufficient to indicate individualized consent issues, thus negating the certification.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Johnson v. Yahoo! can be accessed here.

The plaintiff had filed suit after receiving an unsolicited text message from Yahoo! Subsequently, Yahoo! sent a second message containing an explanation of why the first message was sent. The plaintiff filed a class-action lawsuit, arguing the second text message violated the TCPA.

The judge in the case certified the suit as a class action back in 2016. More than a year after the discovery period ended, the carrier that the plaintiff was using — Sprint — provided additional information that had been subpoenaed. The plaintiff had been seeking the records as a means of identifying potential members of the class.

Many of the names of Sprint customers matched the names of Yahoo! users, who had agreed to the terms and conditions provided by Yahoo!, which including consenting to receive text messages.

The additional information provided the defendants with what it needed to prove that individualized analysis of each case is now required to determine whether consent was provided. Under that condition, the judge de-certified the class.

“Decertification, not redefinition, is the appropriate step in light of defendant’s showing that individualized consent inquiries will predominate,” wrote Judge Manish Shah in his ruling.


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