Recently, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia held that a plaintiff who purportedly received “computer-dialed” telemarketing calls alleged a concrete harm sufficient for standing to pursue relief under the TCPA. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant, Got Warranty Inc., failed to obtain her consent before placing autodialed and prerecorded message calls to her cell phone. In addition, the complaint alleged that the defendant made telemarketing calls to a number the plaintiff had registered on the National Do Not Call Registry.
The case had previously been stayed pending the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo Inc. v. Robins. In its recent ruling, the district court reopened the case and denied Got Warranty’s motion to dismiss based on the Supreme Court’s Spokeo opinion and its reaffirmation that both tangible and intangible injuries may be used to show that an injury sufficient for standing. Specifically, the district court found that unwanted phone calls cause tangible injury in the form of direct, concrete, monetary harm by depleting limited minutes, causing consumers to incur charges for calls, and using a cell phone’s battery. The court further found that such calls cause intangible injuries, regardless of the type of cell phone or plan, based on (1) an invasion of the consumer’s privacy, (2) an intrusion upon and occupation of the capacity of the consumer’s cell phone, and (3) wasting the consumer’s time or causing the risk of personal injury due to interruption and distraction.
Tip: This case should remind companies to be mindful of the consent and Do Not Call Registry requirements under state and federal law before placing calls to consumers.