In Powell v. YouFit Health Clubs, LLC, the Southern District of Florida denied class certification on the basis that the named plaintiff was not typical of the class she sought to represent.

Traci Powell brought a Telephone Consumer Protection Act class action against YouFit Health Clubs, claiming that the company had improperly sent “deceptive dual-purpose text messages” that both attempted to collect a debt and constituted “telemarketing.”

In the case, it was undisputed that YouFit sent text messages. The issue for liability on Powell’s claim was whether she had given prior express consent. This meant that the issue on class certification was whether her consent was typical of a class.

As a former member of YouFit’s fitness club, Powell alleged that YouFit sent her a text message after she canceled her membership and therefore she was “not bound by any form of membership agreement containing any consent language.” (emphasis added). However, Powell sought to represent a class of individuals who had signed what she claimed were membership agreements that contained a consent provision insufficient to satisfy the TCPA.

The Court held that resolution of Powell’s issue – whether she provided consent at all – would be different than the alleged class, which depended on whether certain consent language was insufficient to satisfy the TCPA. Because the fundamental issues in the case were necessarily different, the Court declined to certify the class, finding that Powell’s claims were not typical.

In short, Powell simply was not the typical class representative, a problem fatal to her class certification aspirations.