Last week, on March 22, 2017, U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke, a Florida federal judge, determined that Ray Mohamed had standing in his proposed class action against Off Lease Only Inc. (Off Lease) for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Spokeo decision. Judge Cooke concluded that Mr. Mohamed had alleged a particularized and concrete harm that was enough to meet the Spokeo test.
First, Judge Cooke said that Mr. Mohamed met the particularization requirement because he personally received a text from Off Lease on his cellphone, meaning he was affected in a “personal and individual way.” Second, Mr. Mohamad’s injuries were also concrete. Through Mr. Mohamad’s TCPA claim, he seeks to remedy Off Lease’s alleged invasion of privacy, nuisance and trespass on his cellphone, all torts that have long been heard by the courts with the right of privacy recognized by most states. Judge Cooke said, “Though the elements of these torts differ from the elements of a TCPA claim, plaintiff’s alleged injuries bear the kind of ‘close relationship’ to traditionally recognized and adjudicated harms stressed in Spokeo.” Judge Cooke concluded, “Far from a ‘bare procedural violation,’ plaintiff’s case directly involves the substantive privacy rights the TCPA was enacted to protect.”
This TCPA class action was originally filed back in September 2015, for allegations that Off Lease, a used-car dealer, through its agent American Motor Company LLC, sent Mr. Mohamad two unsolicited texts in response to a Craigslist ad Mr. Mohamad had posted about selling his car. Mr. Mohamad’s Craigslist ad explicitly said, “Do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers,” but he received two texts saying “We are cash buyers for local vehicles. Get a cash offer 24/7 http://bit.ly/p9z972L – Off Lease Only Miami.”
We will continue to follow this case as it proceeds.