Defendants Unable to Get Suits Filed by Professional Plaintiff Dismissed

A pair of defendants accused of contacting a professional plaintiff in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act have had rulings issued in different lawsuits by District Court judges in Pennsylvania.

A copy of the ruling in Shelton v. National Gas & Electric can be accessed by clicking here, and a copy of the ruling in Shelton v. Target Advance can be accessed by clicking here.

In the first suit, the defendant’s motion to dismiss was denied even though the plaintiff maintains a website for his business, Final Verdict Solutions, which is in the judgment collection business. On the website, he advertises that he is going to sue any telemarketer who calls his phone and warns companies to “hire a good lawyer.” The defendant sought to have the case dismissed, arguing the plaintiff could not have suffered an injury-in-fact. The plaintiff’s claim that the defendant used an automatic telephone dialing system because he heard “a distinctive click and pause” was enough for the judge to determine there was a “plausible inference” that a predictive dialer was used, and denied the motion to dismiss.

In the second suit, the defendant’s motion for summary judgment was partially granted and partially denied. The defendant was able to get the claim that it violated the Do Not Call Registry tossed, because the plaintiff’s cell phone is used for his business and business lines are not allowed to be listed on the Do Not Call Registry. The defendant in this case also tried to argue that the plaintiff lacked standing to sue because he is a “professional TCPA litigant” who “has formulated a business model to encourage telemarketers to call his cellphone number so that he can later sue the telemarketers under the TCPA.” But because the plaintiff’s claims relative to the judgments he has received and is collecting on are not clear as to whether they are just his or whether he is collecting on behalf of someone else, the judge declined to fully grant the defendant’s summary judgment motion.

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  1. In my AccountsRecovery.Net daily digest email this morning I saw this article today:
    Defendants Unable to Get Suits Filed by Professional Plaintiff Dismissed

    I immediately jumped to it because I was extremely interested in hearing how it ended.

    I am dealing with this EXACT same situation right now. I was on the COT for a debt that my agency never called. The debt was sold several times over and I randomly got hit with a lawsuit from a pro-se serial litigant one day. This man has effectively flipped my life upside down and drove up my legal costs so much higher than I could possibly afford. Now, A year and a half later my MTD’s and Motions for Summary Judgment have not entirely been granted on the basis of ‘I have been unable to prove without a doubt that I did not call the man’ despite submitting phone records.

    The man alleges that my agency is using call spoofing technology (which we have never and will never use) therefore it’s become IMPOSSIBLE for me to disprove the negative and I feel that the courts are being absolutely unreasonable especially considering this man’s history. He’s been suing everybody in the phone book since the days of ‘Junk Faxes’ in the ’90s.

    I legitimately have nothing I can possibly do about this and I’m fairly certain that the attorney that I hired is padding the bills and taking advantage of me.

    The agency that actually called the man settled for $2,000. I called that attorney to see if he could get me the same settlement and he told me he was too busy and sent me elsewhere. This new attorney then told me not to settle because I did nothing wtong and that he’d get it dropped so fast it would make the serial litigant’s head spin. Now after over a year and $25k in legal fees (which are vague and lumped together) the lawsuit still has not been dropped.

    I was hoping there would be a nice neat ending to this story that I could read and feel more optimistic about the situation but instead of that, it seems that we’re all in the same boat. The ironic part is that since we disputed the claims (against my desire but at the advice of my legal counsel) the litigant is now demanding something like $100k.

    I’ve been in business for almost a decade and I can’t tell if it’s my attorney or this sovereign citizen pro-se serial litigant that’s pushing me out of business. It almost feels like the attorney is more predatory right now.

  2. I looked at his web-site and it appears to me that he is acting as a debt collector or debt buyer. It would be kind of poetic justice if somebody sued him for operating without a proper license, particularly since he appears to be operating across state lines. CFPB?

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