According to the complaint in Ibrahim v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., defendants Sterircycle, Inc. and Stericycle Communication Solutions, Inc. (collectively referred to herein as “Stericycle”) violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by making unauthorized telephone calls using a prerecorded or artificial voice to the cellular telephones of individuals throughout the nation.

Stericycle’s calling program started after Honda commenced a recall of defective airbags from vehicles that it sold in the United States.  To expedite its airbag recall, Honda allegedly engaged in an automated calling operation to alert owners of the affected vehicles.  Stericycle, a provider of automated calling services to companies conducting recalls of their products, made the calls on behalf of Honda.  Some of these calls were supposedly made to telephone numbers of individuals who never owned a Honda, like the named plaintiff, Wasif Ibrahim.  Ibrahim claims that he has received nearly a dozen phone calls to his cell phone since January 2016.

Ibrahim’s class action complaint seeks to certify a nationwide class of persons who, within four years prior to the commencement of the litigation, received one or  more telephone calls from Stericycle featuring a prerecorded or artificial voice message relating to a product recall, where the called party was not, according to Stericycle’s records, the intended recipient of the call, or who did not consent to be called.

On December 19, Stericycle filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that “Plaintiff’s claim is not only meritless, it is dangerous.”  Stericycle contends that its calling program falls squarely within the TCPA’s “emergency purpose” exception, and further argues that “this lawsuit challenges the lawfulness of phone calls that are saving lives.”  Stericycle concluded its motion by stating: “Lives depend on reaching car owners as quickly as possible.  That urgency may make ‘wrong number’ calls more likely, but that makes it even more imperative that outreach efforts enjoy the protection of the emergency exception.”

The motion was scheduled for presentment before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on December 23.  We will continue to monitor the developments in this case.