A class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin last Thursday morning, alleging that Caribou Coffee Company, Inc. (“Caribou”) violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) by sending unsolicited text message advertisements without obtaining the prior express written consent to do so. The TCPA class action complaint seeks to certify a class of:
All persons within the United States who received an SMS text message from Caribou Coffee Company, Inc. and/or an affiliate, subsidiary, or agent of Caribou Coffee Company, Inc. to a cellular telephone through the use of an automatic dialing system and who did not provide prior express written consent to receive such SMS text messages.
How is Caribou Alleged to Have Violated the TCPA?
TCPA Class Action Allegations Against Caribou
According to the complaint, the class action representative plaintiff began receiving unsolicited text message advertisements on her cellular telephone from Caribou in or about March 2016. The TCPA class action complaint specifically alleges that “[t]he source of each of the unsolicited SMS text messages sent by [Caribou] to the [plaintiff’s cellular telephone] number was ‘65017’, which is an SMS short code leased by [Caribou] or [Caribou’s] agent(s) or affiliate(s), and is used for operating [Caribou’s] text message marketing program.” The complaint further alleges that Caribou necessarily used an automated telephone dialing system to send the unsolicited commercial text message advertisements because the texts “were sent from ‘65017’, which is a short code telephone number used to message consumers en masse.” The complaint seeks an unspecified amount of monetary damages.
Caribou has not yet been served with process.
As we previously blogged, the United States Supreme Court recently made it even more difficult for defendants to dismiss TCPA class action lawsuits. In this regulatory climate, it is necessary to understand and become compliant with the TCPA before becoming subject to class action litigation.