Eastern District of Michigan Holds That No Private Cause of Action Exists for “Spoofing” Caller ID Info Under the TCPA

In Dobronski v. Selectquote Ins. Servs., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92019, plaintiff, proceeding pro se, alleged that defendant violated the TCPA and the Michigan Telephone Companies as Common Carriers Act related to three telephone calls.

After filing suit, plaintiff sought leave to amend his complaint to add and clarify two allegations: (1) that defendant, an insurance broker who solicited clients via phone calls, violated 47 C.F.R. § 64.1601(e) of the TCPA by spoofing inaccurate caller ID information; and (2) that the defendant violated 47 C.F.R. § 64.1200(d)(1) of the TCPA by failing to maintain and make available a do-not-call policy.  The defendant argued that there was no private cause of action under the TCPA for spoofing caller identification, and that of the three calls at issue, it only made the second call with express consent to do so.

The court, in a thorough analysis of § 64.1601(e), determined that there is no private right of action for spoofing caller ID information under the TCPA.  Relying on multiple authorities, the court determined that the purpose of this regulation was to support consumers’ enforcement efforts under the TCPA, rather than creating a new, independent cause of action.

However, the court permitted the amended claim under § 64.1200(d)(1).  Defendant’s contentions regarding the specific background of the calls was a factual dispute reserved for summary judgment.  And unlike § 64.1601(e), it was clear from the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Charvat v. NMP, LLC, 656 F.3d 440 (6th Cir. 2011) that a private cause of action existed under this regulation.

Plaintiff’s amended complaint is due on June 10, 2020.  We’ll keep an eye on this case to see if any other important TCPA tidbits come up.

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