Applying the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system required by the recent Eleventh Circuit decision Glasser v. Hilton Grand Vacations Co., LLC, Judge Charlene Honeywell from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida held in Northrup v. Innovative Health Ins. Partners, LLC, et al., that the Twilio texting platform does not qualify as an ATDS.
Plaintiff John Northrup brought a claim for violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, on behalf of himself and a purported class, regarding a text message sent to his cellular telephone number. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the platforms used to send the text message to Northrup – 212CRM and Twilio – do not qualify as an ATDS because they do not have the capacity to generate random or sequential numbers. Defendants pointed to information in the record showing that the texting platforms “use prepared lists of numbers provided by a user” to send text messages.
Northrup argued, before the decision in Glasser, that the Court should follow the Ninth Circuit’s reasoning in Marks “that a telephone dialing system that dials from a prepared list of phone numbers rather than numbers it generates may still be an ATDS.” Northrup also argued that the Court should look to the 2003, 2008, and 2012 Federal Communications Commission rulings when interpreting the definition of an ATDS.
In light of Glasser, the Court disregarded Northrup’s arguments and relied on “undisputed record evidence showing that 212CRM and Twilio cannot generate random or sequential numbers” to grant summary judgment in favor of the defendants.
The Court also analyzed the human intervention necessary to send the text messages at issue. The Court found the following sequence of events constituted sufficient human intervention to “make the two devices fall outside of the definition of an ATDS[:] defendant employee navigates to 212CRM and logs in; defendant employee uploads spreadsheet containing customer data; defendant employee manually edits the spreadsheet; defendant employee types content of message to be sent; defendant employee sets sending interval; and defendant employee clicks ‘send.’”
The Northup decision is the first summary judgment ruling to rely on Glasser and dismiss claims under the TCPA. Moreover, the decision is a significant win for Twilio and its customers who use the text messaging platform to contact consumers.
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