Court Confirms: No Private Right of Action for “Spoofing”
The TCPA’s complex patchwork of statutes and regulations is brimming with private causes of action for the injured (or enterprising) plaintiff. But not every violation provides a remedy, as a court in Michigan just confirmed. See Dobronski v. Sunpath Ltd., 2:19-cv-12094-TGB-EAS, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47787, (E.D. Mich. March 15, 2021).
In that case, pro se plaintiff Mr. Dobronski argued that a company (and its officers) violated the TCPA by using a false identification for their marketing calls (sometimes called “spoofing”). Mr. Dobronski asserted a claim under 47 C.F.R. 64.1601(e), which requires that telemarketers “must transmit caller identification.” The Court dismissed the claim and Mr. Dobronski sought reconsideration, which the Court denied.
The Court explained that in the Eastern District of Michigan (like most courts), reconsideration “is not intended as a means to allow a losing party to simply rehash rejected arguments or to introduce new arguments.” As a result, the Court dismissed without analysis Mr. Dobronski’s new argument that the spoofing regulation “falls squarely within the ambit of 47 U.S.C. 227(c).” Mr. Dobronski failed to make that argument the first time around.
On the merits, the Court rejected Mr. Dobronski’s other arguments that the spoofing regulation creates a private cause of action. The Court acknowledged that the TCPA “is a source of confusion,” and that there is a “split among the courts” on a private cause of action for the spoofing regulation. But, without more, Mr. Dobronski failed to change the Court’s mind on “this close question” and it reaffirmed its prior ruling that Mr. Dobronski could not state a claim.