SelectQuote Beats TCPA Suit Based on Acquisition: Online Insurance Shopper Not Liable For Calls Made Before it Owned Lead Source
Hanging out here at Lead Generation World watching a great panel while scanning the recent TCPA rulings I picked up this case involving SelectQuote and it was quite apropos.
There is so much MONEY out there these days. Seems like everyone is in acquisition mode. Well what happens when you buy a company that has (perhaps) made some mistakes in the past? Are you always liable for activities that took place before the acquisition?
The answer to that question is actually a fairly complex one turning on the nuance of corporate law, but in TCPAWorld a new case suggests that liability does not always follow the money…
In Zean v SelectQuote, Case No. 19-CV-2958 (NEB/TNL), 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6978 (Jan. 13, 2022) the Plaintiff complained that he had received a series of calls designed to have him check out a website for final expenses. He claims the calls were made using an ATDS and that he did not consent to their receipt.
The website at issue “burialexpense.com” was later purchased by SelectQuote. So the Plaintiff sued SelectQuote arguing that it was both directly and vicariously liable for the calls made by the be.com’s vendors before it was purchased.
The Court was not buying it. As the Court explained matters there was simply no evidence that SelectQuote was directly involved with the website at the time the calls were made. And there was no evidence SelectQuote was exercising any control over the website at the time the calls were made–so agency and other vicarious liability theories fell apart at the threshold.
Notably the Court did not analyze traditional corporate liability theories applicable in the assert purchase context–presumably because the Plaintiff did not raise these issues–so there might be more risk here than meets the eye.
Still Zean shows that companies in “acquisition mode” do not necessarily buy the bad with the good.