A District Court judge in California has partially granted a defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, but denied counts related to text messages received under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the anti-harassment provision of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because the defendant sending 15 text messages in the span of one month.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Cupp v. First National Collection Bureau can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff allegedly received 15 text messages from the defendant during the span of roughly one month. The text messages were allegedly intended for someone other than the plaintiff. The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the conduct violated the TCPA, the FDCPA, and the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I’m guessing that Judge William Alsup of the District Court for the Northern District of California is neither a frequent sender of text messages nor does he know any teenagers, because he denied the defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings on the TCPA claim simply because it’s plausible that an automated telephone dialing system was used to send 15 messages. Under the rules of the law, the defendant’s arguments to the contrary were not considered, because the judge’s deliberations were limited to information included in the complaint.
Again, the volume of text messages was enough for Judge Alsup to determine that a “plausible inference” could be made that there was an intent to harass the plaintiff, which would violate Section 1692d(5) of the FDCPA. “No bright-line rule exists for the threshold of harassment, but courts have found call volumes similar to the fifteen at issue here to state a claim for relief under this section,” Judge Alsup wrote.
The judge granted the defendant’s motion for judgment on the three Section 1692e claims, the 1692g claim, the 1692f claim, and the 1692j claim.