Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Pleading a TCPA declare is normally not the tough half for a plaintiff, and courts usually don’t dismiss TCPA lawsuits on the pleadings alone. However a latest resolution gives instructive steering for the form of threadbare allegations that fail to clear that preliminary hurdle.
Particularly, the US District Courtroom for the Japanese District of Virginia not too long ago dismissed a bare-bones TCPA grievance and putative class motion filed by Craig Hicks. Hicks v. Alarm.com Inc., No. 1:20-cv-532, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157433 (E.D. Va. Aug. 6, 2020). Mr. Hicks alleged that Alarm.com violated the TCPA as a result of he obtained two textual content messages and one name from “Alarm.com.” Recounting Mr. Hicks’ allegations, the Courtroom described them as “lean,” and noticed that the “connection between these communications and” Alarm.com had been “factually flimsy.” Consequently, the Courtroom agreed “that there aren’t any information detailing Alarm.com’s involvement in putting any calls,” nor did Mr. Hicks allege any information to recommend Alarm.com despatched the texts at problem. The Courtroom additionally refused to credit score Mr. Hick’s “conclusory” allegations and so it dismissed Mr. Hicks’ grievance.
Notably too, Mr. Hicks expressly disclaimed any idea of vicarious legal responsibility, which the Courtroom described as “curious” given the absence of different supporting allegations. The Courtroom famous that Alarm.Com had confronted different lawsuits primarily based on conduct by third-party sellers, however didn’t tackle the problem in larger element given Mr. Hicks’ “abandonment” of the vicarious legal responsibility “authorized idea.”
And, although not materials to the dismissal, the Courtroom criticized Mr. Hicks for counting on nameless on-line complaints. The Courtroom defined that “a complete of 9 nameless on-line entries” didn’t qualify as “myriad on-line complaints” as Mr. Hicks argued. The Courtroom discovered that Mr. Hicks’ characterization was “hyperbolic and unsupported.”
The Hicks case provides helpful steering for TCPA Defendants dealing with a brand new TCPA lawsuit. The place a plaintiff can’t hyperlink a name or textual content to a selected firm, however as an alternative resorts to hyperbole, nameless web allegations, and innuendo, the declare could fail on the pleadings alone.
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