WELLS FARGO OFF THE HOOK: Court Holds Debt Collectors Do Not Use ATDS–Weak Allegations of Prerecorded Calls Insufficient to State a Claim

So it has been a while since I could update the old Facebook Ruling Resource Pagebut glad I have a good one to add to the scoreboard today.

In Allison v. Wells Fargo, 2022 WL 10756885 (S.D. Cal. Oct. 18, 2022) the Court issued a short and sweet ruling finding that Wells Fargo’s alleged use of an ATDS to contact debtors was inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s Facebook ruling requiring the use of a random or sequential number generator:

It is implausible that Defendant would use a randomly or sequentially generated phone number list to attempt to reach their debtors.

Like other cases of its kind, however, Allison assumes that phone numbers must be randomly generated to trigger the TCPA–which is not actually what Facebook holds. Still, this is a nice win for the Bank.

Another nice piece of the ruling–the Court holds that threadbare allegations of prerecorded call usage are insufficient to state a claim.

Backing up, the use of either an ATDS or  prerecorded voice separately trigger the statute. So you can still be liable under the TCPA even if you didn’t use an ATDS, provided you used a prerecorded voice.

Most courts allow prerecorded voice claims to slip past the pleadings stage with very minimal factual embellishment. But a handful of cases have recently concluded that there must be a factual basis for the claims in order to move into discovery. Allison is in accord:

Here, Plaintiff has provided only conclusory allegations, and therefore, has failed to plausibly allege a prerecorded or artificial voice under the TCPA.

Short and sweet. Nice work Wells Fargo (old pals of mine.) Hope everyone is well over there.


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