More Needed: First Case Out Addressing FTSA Autodialer Pleading Standard Requires More than Threadbare Pleading
Really interesting case out today.
So as everyone in TCPAWorld knows the FTSA contains an extremely broad–probably too broad–definition of “autodialer” that looks at any system that either automatically dials or selects phone numbers to be dialed.
Superficially the FTSA sweeps up click-to-dial systems as well as most work flow programs into its gambit–although that has not yet been tested in the case law.
The FTSA, of course, has lead many to switch processes and deploy “human selection” systems when calling into Florida. And that makes good sense, all things considered.
Well in Davis v. Coast Dental, 2022 WL 4217141 (M.D. Fl. Sept. 13, 2022) a district court took a first crack at determining the pleading standard for autodialer usage in an FTSA case and the results are pretty good news for callers.
In Davis the Plaintiff alleged “[t]o transmit the above telephonic sales calls, Defendant utilized a computer software system that automatically selected and dialed Plaintiff’s and the Class members’ telephone numbers.”
The Court found this allegation was insufficient to state a claim because it was a conclusory allegation that merely parroted the statute. The Court noted Plaintiff could have alleged a number of other facts related to the transmission of the calls but failed to do so.
Pretty good, no?
The Court also held that the mere receipt of an unsolicited call was not sufficient to state a claim:
The fact that Coast Dental sent Davis an unsolicited text message is consistent with the idea that Coast Dental used an automated machine to send advertisements en masse. However, these facts are also consistent with Coast Dental hiring a marketing firm to send individual messages from a personal cell phone in full compliance with the FTSA.
Really important holding there. Receipt of an unsolicited marketing call is NOT enough, standing alone, to state an FTSA claim. More is required.
Davis is just one case, of course, but it is a fantastic data point–and a critical first ruling–to the effect that conclusory allegations are not enough to state an FTSA claim. As the case law continues to develop a pleading standard may arise but–for now–it is nice to know that something moderately substantive is likely required to state a claim.
We’ll keep an eye on this!