Continued Confusion Concerning Whether Professional Plaintiffs Have Standing


Drinker Biddle firm reviews standing for TCPA claims based on court decisions.

11/14/2018 9:00

By Michael P. Daly and Matthew M. Morrissey

Drinker Biddle

Two courts recently examined whether professional plaintiffs had standing to assert TCPA claims, according to a blog post by Drinker Biddle. Their decisions betray a continuing confusion concerning what it is that gives plaintiffs—particularly serial plaintiffs—standing to sue. See Cunningham v. Florio, No. 17-0839, 2018 WL 4473792 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 6, 2018)Morris v. Hornet Corp., No. 17-0350, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170945 (E.D. Tex. Sept. 14, 2018).

Because both decisions refer to Stoops v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 197 F. Supp.3d 782 (W.D. Pa. 2016), a few words about that case are in order. The Stoops case is perhaps the high-water mark for contrivance under the TCPA. As our regular readers will no doubt recall, the plaintiff in Stoops admitted at deposition that she had created a “TCPA business” by buying dozens of cell phones and then choosing an area code that she knew would make debt-collection calls much more likely. 798. Because it was undisputed that “her only purpose in using her cell phones is to file TCPA lawsuits,” the court concluded that any calls she received were not “a nuisance or an invasion of privacy,” id. at 800, and any economic injuries she claimed had been “manufactured” in order to “receive more calls, thus enabling her to file TCPA lawsuits.” Id. at 802. As a result, the court held, the plaintiff had neither constitutional nor prudential standing. Id. at 803-06.

The facts of the Stoops case are helpful because they highlight that not every plaintiff has standing. But they are also unhelpful because they have become—wrongly, in our view—the standard against which other plaintiffs have been measured. Two recent cases demonstrate just that.

Read more analysis of TCPA claims in the post by Drinker Biddle here.

Editor’s note: This content is published with permission from Drinker Biddle. This article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended nor should it be taken as legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author in [his][her] individual capacity and do not reflect the official policy or position of their partners, entities, or clients they represent. If you are interested in sharing articles and analysis on legal cases, industry laws and regulations or other relevant topics for possible publication with ACA International, email our Communications Department at [email protected].

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