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Citibank Urges Judge Not to Certify TCPA Collection Suit

It is impossible to determine a class of wrong-number recipients to debt collection calls because doing so requires an account-by-account review of each alleged wrong number call, according to a motion filed by Citibank, which is facing a Telephone Consumer Protection Act lawsuit for allegedly calling an individual’s cell phone using an automated telephone dialing system without obtaining prior consent.

The suit, which was originally filed in December 2017, accuses Citibank of making five collection calls to the plaintiff, who was not a Citibank customer. The plaintiff filed the class-action suit, seeking to include anyone who received a call but was not listed in the defendant’s records as the intended recipient of the call.

A copy of the motion, in the case of Revitch v. Citibank, can be accessed by clicking here.

“Of course, determining who Citibank intended to call necessarily requires an account-by-account review of Citibank’s individualized account records to ascertain Citibank’s intent,” the defendant argued in its brief, filed last week in the District Court for the Northern District of California. The methodology being suggested by the plaintiff “is so flawed” that it would not even identify the plaintiff as a potential class member.

Because Citibank services the credit card operation for many different retailers, the plaintiff’s expert did not check to see whether calls made to one individual, which were marked as a wrong number, were instead intended for a different recipient, who now owns the number of in question. This example might help illustrate the issue:

Tim and Jane are not related and both have Citibank accounts. Tim used to own phone number 1234, but gave the number up in 2012 at which time Jane obtained the number. In 2017 the 1234 number was marked “wrong” on Tim’s account. The 1234 number has been marked as a good number on Jane’s account since that date. Every call to the 1234 number since 2017 has been made to Jane on Jane’s account, and no calls since 2017 were made to Tim on Tim’s account. Plaintiff’s Methodology would identify the number as wrong because of Tim’s account. That should not be a big deal, because no calls were made to Tim. However, because the Methodology ignores number and account associations, it would improperly assume that the calls to Jane’s account were intended for Tim and identify the number as belonging to a putative class member.

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