Plaintiff brought an action under the TCPA after receiving prerecorded telemarketing calls on a landline shared with his roommate. His complaint was dismissed by the lower court, which found that Plaintiff could not be considered a “called party” under the TCPA as he was not the intended recipient of the call. On appeal, the Third Circuit reversed this ruling and concluded that while Plaintiff was not the intended recipient, he still had standing under the TCPA’s zone of interest due to his status as a regular user of the landline as well as an occupant of the residence that was called.
The Court looked to both the plain language of the TCPA as well as its legislative intent and Supreme Court precedent to determine that “the Act’s zone of interest encompasses more than just the intended recipients of prerecorded telemarketing calls.” Leyse v. Bank of Am. Nat’l Assoc., No. 2-11-cv-07128 (3d Cir. Oct. 14, 2015), at p. 20. The Third Circuit determined that “[i]t is the actual recipient, intended or not, who suffers the nuisance and invasion of privacy.” Id. In particular, this includes “a regular user of the phone line who occupies the residence being called.” Id. at pp. 20-21. The Court illustrated its reasoning by way of example noting that “[i]f the caller intended to call one party without its consent but mistakenly called another, neither the actual recipient nor the (uninjured) intended recipient could sue, even if the calls continued indefinitely.” Id. at p. 21 (emphasis in original). Based on the foregoing, the Court reasoned that despite Plaintiff’s roommate being the intended recipient of the call, Plaintiff’s claim “that he regularly used the phone, and the fact that he was [the intended recipient’s] roommate indicates that he, too, had privacy interest in avoiding telemarketing calls to their shared home.” Id. at p. 23.
Under this appellate precedent, the Third Circuit made clear that the TCPA’s scope with respect to standing is broad enough to include anyone within a zone of interest as to the unwanted phone calls.