Appeals Court Vacates Dismissal of TCPA Class Action, Remands Case to Determine Standing

The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has vacated the dismissal of a Telephone Consumer Protection Act case and remanded it back to the District Court because half of the plaintiffs in the class action did not state in the complaint how many calls they received, and the court first needs to establish whether those plaintiffs have standing to sue.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Evans, Adams, Brown, Dudley, Giello et al. v. Ocwen Loan Servicing can be accessed by clicking here.

Sixteen different TCPA cases against the defendant — which made substantially similar claims that the defendant contacted the plaintiffs’ cell phones without first obtaining their consent to do so — were consolidated into one case. The complaint alleged the defendant used an automated telephone dialing system to dial numbers randomly or sequentially to attempt to contact the plaintiffs in regard to the mortgages, and by using an artificial or pre-recorded voice. The defendant sought — and received — a motion to dismiss on the grounds the plaintiffs failed to state a claim, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Facebook v. Duguid.

For eight of the 16 plaintiffs, the complaint explicitly states how many calls they received. For the other eight plaintiffs, however, the complaint states that the “[e]xact number of calls is not confirmed at this point.” Having already ruled that an individual needs to receive more than one call to have standing to sue, the Appeals Court said it could not issue a ruling because it did not know how many calls half of the plaintiffs received. “For any of these plaintiffs, the ‘exact number of calls’ they received could be zero, one, or more than one,” the Appeals Court wrote. “Each of these scenarios would potentially present a different resolution to the standing issue.”

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