A District Court judge in Massachusetts has denied a plaintiff’s motion for class certification in a case in which the defendants — a first-party debt collector and a subsidiary that provides business support services — violated state law by calling the plaintiff’s cell phone five times in a three-day span back in 2018 to collect on an unpaid debt owed to a utility company.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Nightingale v. National Grid USA Service Company, First Contact, and iQor US can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff sought to include a class of individuals who lived in Massachusetts and received more than two calls during a 7-day period in regards to debts that were owed to National Grid. But in order to move forward, the plaintiffs needed to document how they were injured by the act or practice that was being claimed to be unfair or deceptive. The plaintiff argued that the calls and voicemails in question wasted the plaintiffs’ time, wore down the batteries on their phones, and took up space in their phone memories. But there is nothing to prove that the other plaintiffs in the class heard or were bothered by the calls or voicemails, lost space or battery performance on their phones, or had their time wasted, noted Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
The plaintiff also attempted to argue that his privacy was invaded by the calls, but again that is an individual and not a class issue, Judge Gorton ruled.
“The proposed class and sub-class can be certified only if plaintiff demonstrates there is an administratively feasible method of adjudicating such challenges in a way that protects defendants’ due process rights,” Judge Gorton wrote. “Nightingale has, to the contrary, argued unilaterally that causation and injury are susceptible to common proof and has not proposed any method of individual adjudication, manageable or otherwise.”