Judge Grants MSJ For Defense in TCPA Texting Case

A District Court judge in Illinois has granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment that it used an automated telephone dialing system to send text messages to an individual’s cell phone without his expressed consent.

A copy of the ruling in Gadelhak v. AT&T Services, Inc., can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received five text messages in Spanish from the defendant, even though he is not a customer of the defendant. In all likelihood, the plaintiff’s number was “erroneously listed” on an AT&T account, according to the defendant. The plaintiff filed a class-action lawsuit, alleging the defendant contacted him on his cell phone using an ATDS without his prior consent.

As described by Judge Edmond Chang of the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, “Much of the parties’ dispute boils down to whether the D.C. Circuit’s opinion in ACA International v. FCC nullified previous FCC orders defining the term ATDS and, if so, what is the proper definition of that statutory term under the plain language of the TCPA.”

In looking at the plain meaning of the TCPA — an ATDS must have “the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator” — and “respectfully” disagreeing with the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Marks v. Crunch San Diego, Judge Chang ruled the platform used by the defendant did not meet that definition.

Because the defendant’s system is not picking numbers at random when deciding whom to contact, “there is no genuine dispute that AT&T’s system cannot generate telephone numbers randomly or sequentially — as those terms are used in the TCPA — and thus it is not an ATDS and is not prohibited,” Judge Chang ruled.

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