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Judge Dismisses TCPA Class Action Over Meritless Claims

A federal judge has ruled that a plaintiff failed to show cause in claiming a utility company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and has dismissed a lawsuit against the company.

The judge had previously ruled that the lawsuit was “based on a ruse” which had prompted the show cause order in the first place.

A copy of the ruling in Johansen v. National Gas & Electric can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff had admitted that he posed as an interested customer when contacted by a telemarketing company which was soliciting business on behalf of National Gas & Electric. The plaintiff played a cat-and-mouse game with the telemarketing company and the defendant for two days by agreeing to be contacted by the defendant to enroll in the service and then not answering when the defendant called . Ultimately, the plaintiff signed up for the service, but knowingly provided false information. He subsequently filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, alleging it violated the TCPA.

The plaintiff argued that the mandatory arbitration provision of his agreement with the defendant should not be enforceable because he provided fake information when he signed up for his account. When the judge didn’t buy that argument, the plaintiff instead turned to the telemarketing company that originally contacted him did not have an existing business relationship with the plaintiff. The defendant disagreed, arguing that the telemarketing company was making calls on behalf of the defendant and what matters, under the TCPA, is what “entity” is placing the calls.

Finally, when the plaintiff agreed to have the defendant contact him to finish the enrollment process, the plaintiff provided consent to be contacted, the judge ruled. And, in none of the calls that followed did the plaintiff ever revoke permission to be contacted.

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