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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

District Court grants summary judgment for defendant in TCPA case

Courts Class Action Do Not Call Registry Consumer Protection TCPA

Courts

On January 18, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of an insurance company (defendant) with respect to a plaintiff’s TCPA allegations. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant, among other things, violated the TCPA by placing telephone calls to him and the putative class members whose telephone numbers are on the National Do Not Call (DNC) Registry. The defendant countered that the plaintiff spoke with the defendant during a 26-minute phone call and provided his personal information and consent to be called by the defendant. The plaintiff alleged that he had not submitted any information, and suggested that hackers may have been involved, and that he had engaged in a lengthy and detailed conversation with the defendant because he was “investigating” the identity of the caller and the motive for calling. However, the court noted that “the personal information [the plaintiff] disclosed during the call supports the contention that he in fact was interested in obtaining a quote and otherwise submitted an internet request,” and that no evidence supported the plaintiff having “investigative” motives. 

According to the opinion, a “reasonable jury” would find that the defendant had permission to call the plaintiff and that, even if there were questions about whether the plaintiff had requested or consented to the disputed call, the procedures that the defendant had put in place to comply with the law brought it under the purview of the TCPA's safe harbor provision. The court also found that the defendant “produced significant evidence that as part of its routine business practice, it complies with the standards required by the safe harbor provision and had substantially complied with the purpose of the TCPA, ‘to protect consumers from the unwanted intrusion and nuisance of unsolicited telemarketing phone calls and fax advertisements,’ by only calling those who have requested a life insurance quote and consented to be called.”