Sunday, November 25, 2012

Federal District Court of Washington certifies class in text message suit against Papa John’s

Kazerouni Law Group APC

November 25 2012

 With a national class and a Washington state sub-class getting official certification two weeks ago, the national pizza chain Papa John’s International, Inc. (“Papa John’s”) suddenly has a lot more to worry about than just the passing of Obamacare. On November 9, 2012, the federal District Court of Washington certified both a national class and a Washington state sub-class in an action brought by Maria Agne, on her own behalf and on behalf of other similarly situated persons, against Papa John’s, alleging that Papa John’s violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). It is alleged that Papa John’s violated the TCPA by sending unsolicited advertising text messages to prior Papa John’s customers. The class was certified upon a showing to the court that plaintiffs had standing in federal court and satisfied all other class certification requirements.

 For those not regularly schooled in the art of statutory interpretation, the TCPA is a federal privacy law enacted by congress in 1991 and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush which imposes restrictions on automated dialing systems, artificial and prerecorded voice messages, fax machine communications and telephonic solicitations – including both telemarketing calls and text messages. Under provisions in the TCPA, telephonic solicitations can be legal if consent is obtained from the sendee by the sender prior to the telephonic solicitations. Here in lies the problem. Plaintiffs claim that Papa John’s and its franchisees not only sent customers unsolicited text message with promotional codes for future discounted purchases of Papa John’s products, they did so without first obtaining the customers’ consent before sending the alleged text messages.

 According to the complaint, filed May 28, 2012, particular Papa John’s franchisees provided the marketing company OnTime4U with lists of telephone numbers of individuals who had purchased pies from the national pizza chain. Although there was no concrete evidence showing Papa John’s expressly contracted with OnTime4U to solicit Papa John’s customers via telephonic solicitations, the court observed that preliminary discovery supported plaintiffs’ clam that Papa John’s authorized and encouraged its franchisees to utilize OnTime4U’s telephonic solicitation services.

No comments:

Post a Comment