February 5, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 36

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February 03, 2023

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February 02, 2023

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The Democratic National Committee Owes Ursula $60,000.00 for Robotexts; The Republican National Committee is Out of Trouble (For Now)–So Goes The Political Robocall Wars

TCPAWorld is full of so many interesting stories.

As followers know, the TCPA is a fantastic tool for waging political battles. Just last week Congresswoman Jackie Speier was sued in the latest TCPA class-action brought to challenge messages from politicians.

While the suit against Congresswoman Speier pertained to townhall invitations, most TCPA suits involve messages sent by campaigns. Others, however, target messages sent by candidates–get ready for a whole slew of those in the next 10 months–and even messages sent by the major party’s national committees. 

It just so happens that two TCPA cases involving messages sent by the two major political parties were decided a day apart, and the results could not have been more different. So let’s dive in.

First in Lenhardt v. Democratic Nat’l Comm., Case No. 21-4001-DDC-ADM, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6400, (D. Ks.  January 12, 2022) the Plaintiff sued the DNC alleging it made at least 120 unwanted robotexts to her cell phone without consent. Interestingly the DNC did not bother to show up to defend the lawsuit. So a default judgment was entered against the DNC for $60,000.00.

That’s right–the Democratic National Committee now owes Ursula Lenhardt of Kansas 60 thousand big ones for sending robotexts in violation of the TCPA.

On the other hand, the Republicans fared much better in their own brush with the TCPA (probably because they actually fought the case).

In Berger v. Republican Nat’l Comm., Civil Action No. 4:21-CV-190, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6173 (E.D. Tex. January 12, 2022) the Plaintiff sued challenging that unwanted text messages sent by the RNC to encourage him to vote for Donald Trump were sent to his cell phone without consent. The Berger court entered judgment in favor of the RNC, however, finding that the Plaintiff had abandoned his claim that the texts were made using an ATDS and finding that political texts are not covered by the TCPA’s DNC (do not call, not Democratic National Committee) provisions.

So whereas the DNC lost its case related to robotexts, the RNC won its case based on more or less identical conduct.

Fun, no?

We’ll keep an eye on all the seesaw political TCPA battles as the season of unwanted campaign robotexts heats up.

© 2023 Troutman FirmNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 13

About this Author

Eric Troutman TCPA Lawyer Troutman Law Firm Orange County, CA

Eric J Troutman is known as one of the country’s prominent class action defense lawyers and is nationally recognized in Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation and compliance. He has served as lead defense counsel in more than 70 national TCPA class actions and has litigated nearly a thousand individual TCPA cases in his role as national strategic litigation counsel for major banks and finance companies. Eric also helps industry participants build TCPA-compliant processes, policies, and systems.

Eric's perspective allows him to...