Judge Dismisses Hate Crime Count from TCPA Complaint

In a case that was first mentioned at TCPAWorld.com, a District Court judge in Illinois has partially granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for allowing wrong-number calls from debt collectors because, for some reason, the plaintiff’s name was not on the account in question.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Arora v. Diversified Consultants can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff signed up for an account with T-Mobile in 2009. About three months later, he began receiving wrong number calls from collection agencies — about 100 a year for the next 10 years. When he contacted T-Mobile, he was told his name was not on the account, which the plaintiff claims was likely the mistake of a back-office employee who removed his name from the account.

The plaintiff filed suit against a number of the collection agencies and T-Mobile, alleging violations of the TCPA against T-Mobile and the collection agencies, violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act against one of the collection agencies, and a civil conspiracy and hate crime against T-Mobile.

T-Mobile argued in its motion to dismiss that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because the named defendant has filed for liquidation under bankruptcy proceedings, that the plaintiff failed to state a claim, and that the case should be transferred to District Court in Florida, where the named defendant’s bankruptcy case is proceeding.

Because the other defendants are not parties in the named defendant’s bankruptcy case, Judge Jorge Alonso of the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that his court retained subject-matter jurisdiction.

Judge Alonso did agree with T-Mobile that it did not engage in a civil conspiracy or a hate crime and dismissed those counts from the plaintiff’s complaint.

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