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Appeals Court Upholds Receipt of One Text Message Enough to Sue for TCPA Violation

In one of those cases that sounds like it is fascinating to lawyers and courtroom junkies but flies over the head of the rest of us, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has essentially affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the receipt of a single unwanted text message is enough to confer standing for an individual to file a lawsuit alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

A copy of the ruling in Melito v. Experian Marketing Solutions, Inc. can be accessed by clicking here.

A group of plaintiffs filed a class-action suit against American Eagle Outfitters and Experian for sending them unsolicited text messages in violation of the TCPA. The plaintiffs, except for one, reached a settlement with American Eagle; a settlement that Experian wanted no part of. The plaintiff and Experian joined together to appeal the settlement to the Second Circuit.

Without trying to get too deep into the weeds of this case, largely because I’ll get lost and never be heard from again, the Appeals Court ruled Experian lacked standing to appeal the ruling, that the receipt of a single text message is enough for an individual to sue for a TCPA violation, and that the District Court did what it needed to do in order to approve the settlement.

That plaintiffs suffered “nuisance and privacy invasion” through the receipt of even a solitary text message is enough to confer standing to sue under Article III of the Constitution, the Appeals Court ruled.

And text messages, while different in some respects from the receipt of calls or faxes specifically mentioned in the TCPA, present the same “nuisance and privacy invasion” envisioned by Congress when it enacted the TCPA.

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