Hooters of America, LLC (“Hooters”), the well-known sports bar franchise, was recently sued in the United States District Court for the Central  District of California for allegedly sending unsolicited commercial text messages in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the “TCPA”).

Details of Hooters TCPA Class Action Lawsuit

The class action complaint alleges that Hooters sent multiple unsolicited text messages to the class action plaintiff, Mr. Peyman Zandifaez, and other similarly situated consumers via an automatic telephone dialing system inviting them to visit their local Hooters.  Mr. Zandifaez denies that he has ever visited a Hooters location, much less provided his prior express written consent to receive text messages from Hooters.

The plaintiff seeks to represent a class of persons throughout the United States who received similar text messages from Hooters or its agents during the past four (4) years.  Mr. Zandifaez’s attorneys estimate that tens of thousands of consumers received unsolicited text messages from Hooters over the last four (4) years and are seeking injunctive relief, in addition to statutory damages ranging from $500.00 to $1,500.00 per violation. The next step is for Hooters to respond to the complaint – by either a motion to dismiss or answer to the complaint.

TCPA Specifics

As our readers are well aware, the TCPA, with some notable exceptions, allows individuals to file lawsuits (including class action lawsuits) to collect damages for having received unsolicited text messages, faxes, pre-recorded telephone calls and autodialed telephone calls (to cell phones).  The TCPA allows for actual damages, or statutory damages ranging from $500.00 to $1,500.00, per unsolicited call/text message.  Not surprisingly, the TCPA (particularly its applicability to text message marketing) has become fertile ground for class action litigation, such as the Hooters lawsuit detailed above.  Notwithstanding this trend, experienced counsel can help you identify a wide range of potential defenses to such actions.  Remember, before there can be a TCPA class action, there must be a viable underlying TCPA claim.