Last month, a serial TCPA plaintiff agreed to dismiss without prejudice the putative class claims against a defendant that fought back. In its answer, the defendant asserted counterclaims under California unfair business practices laws that the plaintiff and his prolific TCPA class counsel orchestrated a scheme to generate TCPA lawsuits by registering and publicizing nearly 30 separate phone numbers, then suing entities that called those numbers. The plaintiff’s attorney would then generate claims, file carbon copy lawsuits, and share recovered fees according to the defendant. The defendant’s briefing noted the plaintiff and his counsel’s filing of nearly 390 TCPA cases in the Central District of California alone, and the defendant’s decision to “take a stand against . . . ‘legalized extortion.’” In November, the district court denied the plaintiff’s special motion to strike and dismiss defendant’s counterclaims that the serial plaintiff “masquerades as legitimate businesses online, with his personal number listed for the purpose of ‘manufacturing’ these lawsuits.” Alan v. BrandRep, Inc., No. 8:16-cv-01040-DOC-DFM, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185780 at *12 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 28, 2016).
Every TCPA defendant would do well to understand the history of the named plaintiff(s) as early as possible, and confer with counsel familiar with the many serial plaintiffs and their firms specializing in TCPA litigation.