by: Karla Lellis
I am excited to share a recent landmark decision made by the 11th Circuit that has significant implications for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and its impact on consumers and businesses alike. In a unanimous en banc decision, the 11th Circuit held that a single, unwarranted, and illegal text message is enough to establish standing to sue under the TCPA. This ruling marks a departure from the court’s previous precedent, setting a higher bar for standing in TCPA class actions.
The case centered around GoDaddy.com’s $35 million settlement with consumers who received unsolicited text messages from the company. GoDaddy contended that a single text message did not cause concrete injury and urged the court to adhere to its 2019 precedent in Salcedo v. Hanna, where standing for a TCPA claim was denied based on a single unsolicited text.
However, the 11th Circuit rejected this argument and emphasized that the harm underlying intrusion upon seclusion claims closely relates to traditional harm. Thus, receiving an unwanted, illegal text message constitutes a concrete injury, granting standing to the plaintiff. This decision aligns with other circuit courts’ holdings in similar cases, recognizing that one or two unwanted texts or calls resemble the harm associated with intrusion upon seclusion.
The implications of this ruling extend beyond this specific case, as it is expected to bring more consistency to TCPA litigation in federal court. Previously, varying standards for standing across different circuits created confusion and challenges for TCPA litigants. With this ruling, individuals who receive a single unsolicited text message will have a clearer path to seek redress under the TCPA.
However, it is essential to note that while this ruling clarifies the standing issue in the 11th Circuit, potential disputes may arise over state or federal court jurisdiction. State appellate decisions might differ from the 11th Circuit’s stance, leading to further complexities in TCPA cases.
As specialists in the legal landscape, we must closely monitor the evolving implications of this ruling. TCPA litigants and businesses engaging in telemarketing activities will need to navigate the changing standing requirements, ensuring compliance with the law and protecting consumers’ rights.
I invite you to engage in a thoughtful discussion on this topic and explore how this ruling may shape the future of TCPA litigation and its effects on consumers and businesses alike.
Let’s stay informed and work together to understand the ever-evolving legal landscape surrounding technology and consumer protection.