One Missed, But Returned Phone Call Enough to Confer Standing in TCPA Case

In a case that was first reported by Eric Troutman at TCPAWorld.com, a District Court judge in Texas has dismissed claims that a collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by making one unanswered phone call to the plaintiff’s cell phone, but denied a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act because the plaintiff returned the call, not knowing who it was from.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Cunningham v. Radius Global Solutions can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received one call from the defendant and did not answer it. The plaintiff returned the call because it was from a local area code, claiming it could have been from “a friend or a loved one.” By returning the call, the plaintiff claims a violation of the TCPA because it wasted his time and distracted him from his work.

The defendant sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that a single missed call was not enough to constitute a concrete injury. The defendant pointed to Salcedo v. Hanna from the Eleventh Circuit, in which the Court ruled that receipt of a single text message was not enough to confer standing, but Judge Amos Mazzant of the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, distinguished a phone call from a text message.

“It only takes one glance at a text message to recognize it is for an
extended warranty for a car you have never owned or a cruise you have won from a raffle you never entered,” Judge Mazzant wrote. “A missed call with a familiar area code, on the other hand, is more difficult to immediately dismiss as an automated message.”

Judge Mazzant did grant the defendant’s motion to dismiss on the claim that it violated Section 1692d(5) of the FDCPA by causing his phone to ring, because one missed phone call did not rise to the level of harassment.

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