Posted by Chris Alarie on Thu, 07/21/2022 - 15:47
A District Court in Florida approved a settlement in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action that demonstrates how even the most secure seeming communication channels carry some degree of risk. The defendant in Parker v. Stoneledge Furniture, LLC, et al. will pay penalties of $4 million (or $10 million worth of vouchers) for violations of the TCPA’s restrictions on the use of an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) to send marketing communications without proper consent. What makes this settlement especially notable is the communications that violated the TCPA were text messages, a form of communication that should be relatively safe from ATDS claims following the Supreme Court’s decision in Facebook v. Duguid.
As readers might remember, the Facebook case also involved text messages. As a result, regardless of the ambiguities being read into a couple of the footnotes, text messages have generally been considered the safest channel for communications post-Facebook. Eric J. Troutman, the Czar of TCPAWorld, has repeatedly made this point on his own blog and in our webinars. But “safest” does not always mean “entirely safe in every circumstance”. It is difficult to know from our vantage point why this text-based ATDS class action resulted in a large settlement post-Facebook—perhaps it was due to a poorly conceived or executed legal strategy—but it is a valuable illustration of how the TCPA’s structural risks remain throughout the vagaries of court opinion and specifics of any one case.