On June 28, a magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio issued a report recommending that the defendant’s motion to dismiss be denied because the plaintiff had standing under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) even though the calls in question were not intended for the plaintiff.
In Stamler v. Guardian Savings Bank, the plaintiff brought a putative class action under the TCPA after she received 13 phone calls and artificial or prerecorded voice messages on her cellphone that were meant for someone else. The plaintiff alleged she suffered “actual harm as a result of defendant’s calls” including “an invasion of privacy, an intrusion into her life, [and] a private nuisance.”
The defendant moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the plaintiff alleged no “actual injury in fact” and thus lacked constitutional standing under Article III. The defendant also argued the calls in question were not solicitations, and therefore did not violate the TCPA.
Upon review of the defendant’s motion, the magistrate judge ruled that while the plaintiff had alleged no “tangible” injury, such as an increase in her cell phone bill from the unwanted calls, the Sixth Circuit cases squarely hold that a plaintiff’s receipt of a single unwanted voicemail is “injury enough” to establish Article III standing. The court reasoned that “the intrusion caused by unwanted phone calls bears a ‘close relationship’ to the kind of harm protected by common-law intrusion upon seclusion.”
The court further noted that the defendant failed to cite any controlling authority that supported its claim that a caller’s identification of calls as “not a solicitation” pre-emptively exempts them from violating the TCPA. Instead, the court noted that the Sixth Circuit has held that receipt of even a single call for commercial purposes presents a concrete harm sufficient to confer standing to make a claim under the TCPA.