Appeals Court Weighs Whether One Text Message Sufficient For TCPA Claim

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday heard arguments in a case — John Salcedo v. Alex Hanna — in which a former client of a law firm is alleging the firm violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending him a single text message without his consent.

Salcedo alleged in his original complaint that he received a text message that contained a coupon for a 10% discount on legal services from the defendant, Hanna. Salcedo is a former client of Hannas. Salcedo alleged in his complaint, which was filed in 2016, the text message violated the TCPA.

Hanna filed a motion with the District Court to dismiss the case, which was denied. The court, however, granted the defendant the right to file an interlocutory appeal, which was approved by the Eleventh Circuit.

In its brief, Hanna calls Salcedo’s argument the “thinnest imaginable” for a plaintiff to claim a TCPA violation.

He received a text message, not a telephone call. It came to his cellular phone, not his home phone. There was one, and only one, text message allegedly sent to him. The sender was not a stranger, but his lawyer. The text message did not cost him a penny. The text message did not render his cellular phone inoperable for a single second or prevent him from receiving other text messages or phone calls during the instant when it was being transmitted.

The Eleventh Circuit is attempting to determine whether the receipt of one text message is sufficient to meet the definition of a concrete injury under Article III of the Constitution. Under Spokeo v. Robins, a plaintiff must suffer a “concrete” injury in order to be able to file a lawsuit in federal court. Does one text message count as a concrete injury?

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