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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

District court grants summary judgment in favor of bank in TCPA robocall suit

Courts Robocalls TCPA Class Action

Courts

On March 13, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey granted a large bank’s (defendant) motion for summary judgment in a proposed class action alleging that the plaintiff received an unsolicited telemarketing call. The plaintiff—who was himself a TCPA investigator for an attorney—was a long-time customer of the defendant when he answered a robocall from the defendant in March 2005. The plaintiff filed suit against the defendant alleging that the robocall from the defendant violated the TCPA. In response, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment which put forth three arguments: (i) plaintiff did not have Article III standing to sue because he was not injured by the call; (ii) the plaintiff had an existing business relationship with the defendant as a long-time customer; and (iii) the content of the call did not violate the law at the time of the call.

Here, the court determined that the plaintiff lacked Article III standing to sue the defendant because he did not show an injury-in-fact as a result of the robocall. The court added, “notably, [p]laintiff does not assert, nor has he put forward any evidence to show, that he suffered nuisance, annoyance, inconvenience, wasted time, invasion of privacy, or any other such injury.” Moreover, the court pointed to the plaintiff’s position and asserted that as a TCPA investigator, “he welcomed such calls.” The court additionally held that the plaintiff lacked statutory standing for similar reasons. As a customer of the defendant, the court stated that plaintiff’s claims were subject to the TCPA’s “established business relationship” exemption in effect at the time of the call. The court agreed with the defendant’s argument that the call did not violate the TCPA prohibitions in effect at the time of the call. Further, the court found that the call’s content did not violate FCC regulations at the time for “abandoned telemarketing calls and dual-purpose calls.” As a result, the court dismissed as moot the plaintiff’s motion for class certification and his motion to file a second amended complaint.

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