A federal court in California has dismissed a class action lawsuit against Taco Bell alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), ruling that an advertiser is not vicariously liable under the statute for text message campaigns carried out by agencies on its behalf unless the advertiser controls the manner and means of the campaign. In Thomas v. Taco Bell Corp., plaintiff alleged that Taco Bell was vicariously liable for unauthorized text messages in connection with a text message marketing campaign conducted by the Chicago Area Taco Bell Local Owners Advertising Association, a non-profit association of local Taco Bell restaurants owners. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted Taco Bell’s motion for summary judgment, finding that while plaintiff’s evidence demonstrated Taco Bells’ knowledge, approval, and administration of funds related to the marketing, the evidence “do[es] not amount to controlling the manner and means of the text message campaign.” Plaintiff’s evidence fell short of establishing that Taco Bell directed or supervised the text message campaign that was carried out by the Association and its two agents.

For further information on this case, see our June 2012 alert here.