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Court Rules Against Texting Platform in Mayoral Campaign TCPA Class Action

Paul Vallas

Tue, 08/25/2020 - 16:25

A recent ruling in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action illustrates how the TCPA risks incurred by political campaigns can be spread to the platforms that those campaigns use to send their messages.

The case—Klueh v. Vallas, Case No. 19-cv-00249, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152979 (N.D. Ill. August 24, 2020)—centers on text messages sent on behalf of Paul Vallas’s campaign in last year’s Chicago mayoral election. These messages were allegedly sent via an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) without proper consent, did not provide the option to opt out of future messages, and produced 4000 complaints.

As a defendant in the case, the texting platform Link2Tek filed a motion to dismiss the case on a number of grounds, including arguing that its platform is not an ATDS according to the Gadelhak standard, as well as attempting to invoke the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent P2P Declaratory Ruling. The court did not find these arguments to be compelling and rejected Link2Tek’s motion. The case will proceed.

While many TCPA lawsuits against political campaigns stems from the mistaken, widespread notion held by political professionals that political messages are exempt from TCPA regulations, this case demonstrates how calling platforms that ostensibly should know better can be drawn into this sort of litigation, as well.