The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Friday reversed the dismissal of a Telephone Consumer Protection Act lawsuit that was tossed because the text messages in question were sent to a phone that the plaintiff had provided to her 13-year-old son, ruling that the mother did have standing to sue because she was the owner of the phone.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Hall v. Smosh Dot Com can be accessed by clicking here.
The defendants sent five text messages to a cell phone number that the plaintiff had placed on the Do Not Call Registry and then given to her 13-year-old son. The plaintiff filed a class-action lawsuit alleging the defendants violated the TCPA, but a District Court judge dismissed the suit, saying the plaintiff lacked standing to sue because she wasn’t the “actual user” of the phone or the “actual recipient” of the messages.
In reversing the lower court, the Ninth Circuit determined that the owner and subscriber of a phone with a number listed on the Do Not Call Registry does have standing when unsolicited calls or text messages are sent in violation of the TCPA. Important perhaps to the merits of the case, but not to the issue of standing, is that the son signed up to receive the messages from the defendant using a webform.
“Because ‘a violation of the TCPA is a concrete, de facto injury,’ and the Do-Not-Call provisions of the TCPA proscribe unsolicited calls and text messages to phone numbers on the Do-Not-Call Registry, Hall’s allegation that she received unsolicited text messages at a phone number that she placed on the Do-Not-Call Registry is sufficient to confer standing,” the Ninth Circuit wrote in its ruling. “Nothing in our precedent or the text of the TCPA suggests that the owner of a cell phone must also be the phone’s primary or customary user to be injured by unsolicited phone calls or text messages sent to its number in violation of the TCPA.”