In Supply Pro Sorbents, LLC, v. RingCentral, Inc., Case No. C 16-02113 JSW, 2016 WL 5870111 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 7, 2016), U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss based on Plaintiff’s lack of standing due to its failure to allege an injury-in-fact. Defendant RingCentral is a provider of cloud-based business communications service, which provides its users a platform to send and receive faxes, and provides a boilerplate fax cover sheet.
In this TCPA fax case, Plaintiff brought a putative class action based on a single fax it allegedly received that included a cover page containing Defendant’s logo and a single line of text stating, “Send and receive faxes with RingCentral, www.ringcentral.com.” Id. at *1. On a motion to dismiss, Defendant argued that Plaintiff lacked standing due to a failure to allege an injury-in-fact.
The Court agreed and noted that “in order to have standing to allege a violation of … the TCPA, a plaintiff must allege more than a mere statutory violation.” Id. at *3 (citing Spokeo, Inc. v. Robbins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1549 (2016)). The Court noted that Plaintiff’s complaint alleges that junk fax recipients lose the use of their fax machines, paper, and ink toner, as well as the loss of time dealing with junk faxes, which interrupt the recipient’s privacy. Id. Plaintiff also alleged that junk faxes tie up telephone lines, prevent fax machines from receiving legitimate and authorized faxes, prevent use of fax machines for use of outbound faxes, and cause undue wear and tear on the fax machine. Id.
Despite all these allegations, the Court determined that it was still “not clear how Plaintiff alleges it specifically suffered these particular harms from the single line identifier on the optional cover sheet of a solicited four-page fax it received.” Id. at *3 (emphasis added). Moreover, even though the Court granted Plaintiff leave to amend, it noted that “it is not clear how Plaintiff could identify sufficient injury-in-fact to rise to the level of constitutional standing.” Id.
This case is yet another great example of courts adopting the Spokeo standard for standing in TCPA cases, and will no longer allow regurgitated statutory language in complaints to pass Article III muster.