Robocall Hate Crime?: Accusations of “Hate Crime” Against T-Mobile Dismissed in Battle Over Unwanted Collection Calls
TCPAWorld is an odd place.
Make a wrong number phone call and you may find yourself sued for billions in a TCPA class action. And even the carriers that permit calls over their networks are sometimes sued as aiders and abettors of unwanted calls.
But one Plaintiff in Illinois took things to a whole new level by suing T-Mobile for a *hate crime* for failing to assist him to stop unwanted calls.
In Arora v. Diversified Consultants, Inc., No. 20 C 4113, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109927 (N.D. Ill June 11, 2021) the Plaintiff alleged that he was subjected to 10 years of “maddening” wrong number phone calls from debt collectors looking to contact the former user of his cell phone. His cell phone carrier –T-Mobile—was lumped in with Defendants as having committed a “conspiracy” to allow the calls to continue. Apparently T-mobile employees had (allegedly) failed to update his account properly in a manner that—in Plaintiff’s telling—allowed the calls to continue. Somehow all of this amounted to a hate crime in his book.
While the case is continuing on in some respects, the hate crime charges against T-Mobile were dismissed last week. The Court found the allegations supporting that cause of action to be “incoherent” and noted that T-Mobile was not alleged to have taken any action against Plaintiff based upon a protected class (i.e. race, creed, color, etc.) so it could not have committed a hate crime.
In the grand scheme of the TCPA this case doesn’t move the needle much but its good to know that making collection calls doesn’t—yet—constitute a hate crime. Non-consented calls may, however, soon merit prison time.
We’ll keep an eye on this one.