A District Court judge in Missouri has denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss a Telephone Consumer Protection Act class action that alleged a debt collector used a prerecorded robotic message instructing the plaintiff to “press 2 if you are not this person.” The plaintiff pressed 2, the call ended, and the plaintiff filed this class action.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Saggio v. Medicredit can be accessed by clicking here.
The defendant attempted to argue that the plaintiff did not have standing to sue because he did not suffer a concrete injury, but Judge John A. Ross of the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri first looked to the precedent set in Golan v. FreeEats.com in which the plaintiff was deemed to have suffered a concrete injury after receiving two telemarketing messages on his answering machine. One answered robocall is equal to two messages, Judge Ross determined, because both “represent the type of nuisance the TCPA was intended to address.” Judge Ross also determined the injuries allegedly suffered by the plaintiff — invasion of his privacy, intruding upon his right to seclusion, interruption of his daily life, and wasted time that cause frustration, occupation of his cell phone and depleted its battery, were sufficient to allege concrete harm because of the nature of the injuries without regard to their extent. The defendant attempted to use Salcedo v. Hanna to make its case the plaintiff was not harmed, but Judge Ross said he was bound to follow Golan in the Eighth Circuit.
The defendant also attempted to claim the plaintiff failed to plead the necessary fact pattern that an automatic telephone dialing system was used. The call was lawful until the plaintiff answered it, the defendant posited. But Judge Ross wasn’t having it.
“Defendant’s statutory construction leads to the absurd inference that Plaintiff injured himself by answering the phone,” Judge Ross wrote. “Given the clear legislative intent of the TCPA, this argument lacks any colorable merit.”