No Jurisdiction or Claims Against Company and Corporate Officer for Alleged TCPA Violations

A ruling in Barr is expected any day now.  Meanwhile, defendants continue to notch meaningful wins against poorly plead TCPA claims.

Last week in Kline v. Advanced Insurance Underwriters, LLP, the Court recommended dismissal of a plaintiff’s TCPA claim for lack of jurisdiction.  No. 1:19-CV-00437, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110453 (M.D. Pa. June 23, 2020).   The plaintiff there sued corporate officers and a company that, according to plaintiff, used an ATDS to try and sell him health insurance.  The plaintiff did not allege that either the company or corporate officers called him directly, but that they created a “sham” number and eventually transferred calls to him.

On these flimsy allegations, the magistrate judge recommended dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.  The plaintiff failed to plead any facts that suggested calls “of a continuous and systematic nature such that exercising jurisdiction over Defendants would comport with the demands of due process.”  Id. at *15-16 (gathering cases).  Critically too, the Court concluded that the plaintiff lacked specific jurisdiction because the plaintiff did not allege that any defendant “directly initiated a call to a plaintiff.”  So there was no allegation that any defendant “purposefully directed” any conduct “at” the plaintiff.

Rounding out the win for the defendants, the Court declined to transfer the dispute to Florida–where there might be general jurisdiction over the defendants.  Instead, the Court reasoned that dismissal was appropriate because the plaintiff’s “slim allegations and conclusory references to unknown sources” suggested the lawsuit was of “dubious merit.”  Id. at *20.

We will continue to track these developments and provide updates while we wait for a ruling in Barr.  

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