So ringless voicemail cases continue to generate diverse results in TCPAWorld.
As readers know, Squire’s TCPA team had a HUGE win recently when a STATE court determined that a case involving a single RVM could not be litigated for lack of standing. That was a first in the nation result folks.
But today another FEDERAL court found that a single RVM did not cause harm and granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss. Interestingly, however, the plaintiff’s own deposition testimony was used to seal the dismissal.
In Matthew Dickson, Plaintiffs, v. Direct Energy, LP, et al , CASE NO: 5:18CV182, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54750 (N.D. Oh. March 25, 2022) the Court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of standing finding that a single RVM did not cause Plaintiff any harm.
In Dickson the RVM had apparently never been listened to, just transcribed and read. As a result the Court found it was similar to the receipt of a single text message, which the court viewed as unlikely to cause harm following Hanna.
Plus the Court credited the deposition testimony to the effect that no harm was caused:
Dickson cannot recall where he was or what he was doing when he received the RVM. His only recollection appears to be that at one point in time he read the RVM and subsequently forwarded it on to counsel because he had previous experience with the TCPA.
What remarkable testimony. The guy received the RVM and immediately forwarded it to a lawyer!
The Court distinguished other cases where a Plaintiff had been harmed by even a single RVM:
Unlike the defendant in Silbaugh, Defendant here has successfully refuted the contention that Dickson was charged for the RVM or lost use of his phone upon his receipt of the RVM. Accordingly, Dickson’s sole alleged harm appears to be the de minimus time he took to read the RVM, a time so limited that he did not even recall its contents.
So case dismissed.
While this is another great standing ruling, users of ringless voicemail technology should not get confued here. RVMs are definitely subject to the TCPA. However some courts find that receipt of a single RVM does not cause any harm. That is not a universal conclusion, however. The outcome will turn on the specific facts of each case.
So blasting folks with RVM without consent is highly inadvisable…