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Florida Court Rules that Twilio’s Texting Platform is Not an ATDS

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Mon, 03/02/2020 - 13:37

In a potentially significant decision, a Florida district court ruled that a prominent text message platform is not an Automatic Telephone Dialing System (ATDS) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Twilio is not the defendant in the class action—Northrup v. Innovative Health Ins. Partners, LLC, Case No: 8:17-cv-1890-T-36JSS, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31851 (M.D. Fl. Feb. 25, 2020)—but the court’s decision deals specifically with how their platform was used by the defendant. 

In granting summary judgment to the defendant, the court found that Twilio’s platform is not an ATDS on an evidentiary basis. This is significant in and of itself, as Twilio’s platform is widely used for text-based telemarketing. But the specifics of the decision offer further potentially beneficial precedents for Twilio and its users.

Following the Eleventh Circuit’s late-January ruling in Glasser v. Hilton Grand Vacations, the Florida district court adopted a very narrow definition of what constitutes an ATDS. Because Twilio’s system does not randomly or sequentially generate numbers, the court found it is not subject to the TCPA’s restrictions on the use of autodialers. The court also found that the level of human intervention necessary to create the text message campaign using Twilio’s system was sufficient to consider the texts as manually, rather than automatically, transmitted.

As with any district court ruling, the scope of influence remains to be seen. But this case does potentially set a significant precedent limiting how the TCPA can be used to regulate automated text message systems.