Docket Surprise: Court Sua Sponte Questions TCPA Class’ Standing Because it Includes Single-Text Recipients

In Drazen v. Godaddy.com, LLC, CIVIL ACTION: 1:19-00563-KD-B, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29995 (S.D. Ala. Feb. 21, 2020) the Plaintiffs filed an unopposed motion for TCPA class settlement and certification preliminary approval.  The named Plaintiffs had varying allegations; the proposed class definition extended to “all persons…who received a call or text message to his or her cellular phone…”  The Court outlined its independent duty to inquire as to its subject matter jurisdiction sua sponte whenever it may be lacking; so the judge did.  For a TCPA plaintiff to be in federal court, under Spokeo, an actual injury must have occurred.  The Court explained that recently under Salcedo v. Hanna, the 11th Circuit held that an individual’s receipt of a singular text message was not a basis for federal jurisdiction of a TCPA claim, as it is not a concrete harm that satisfies Article III of the Constitution. 

Therefore, the court ordered the parties to file briefs explaining how this case is distinguishable from Salcedo, and the basis for standing as to the single-text message only class members.  The Court acknowledged that the parties may just amend the settlement class definition in light of the order.  Neat ruling.

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