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Ohio Foreclosure Defense & Consumer Law > Blog > TCPA > Plaintiff Sues Facebook For Unwanted Text Messages In Facebook Inc. V. Duguid

Plaintiff Sues Facebook For Unwanted Text Messages In Facebook Inc. V. Duguid


The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 is a piece of legislation that protects consumers from unwanted, harassing, or abusive telephone communications. Decisions in the past have held that text messages qualify under the TCPA and plaintiffs who received unwanted text messages can file lawsuits. However, there are very specific provisions under the TCPA for filing a lawsuit. One of these provisions requires that the alleged violator of the TCPA must use an “autodialer” and an automatic telephone dialing system.

The TCPA defines such autodialers as equipment with the capacity both “to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator.

In one important TCPA case, the plaintiff, Noah Duguid alleged that Facebook violated provisions of the TCPA when it sent him a warning that someone attempted to log into his Facebook account from a new device or browser. Duguid maintained that Facebook sent his telephone number updates on an account linked to his phone number. One problem, however, Duguid never had a Facebook account linked to that number. Nor did he have a Facebook account at all. In this case, the phone number belonged to someone else for a period of time and was linked to a Facebook account.

In this lawsuit, Facebook was alleged to have sent several unwanted texts to Duguid alerting him to login activity from an account he never created. Duguid tried without success to stop the unwanted messages from disturbing his phone. Eventually, he brought a putative class-action against Facebook over the unwanted messages.

Duguid alleged that Facebook violated the TCPA by maintaining a database that stored phone numbers and programmed its equipment to send automated text messages. Facebook countered by arguing that the TCPA does not apply because the technology it used to text Duguid did not use a “random or sequential number generator.” The Ninth Circuit agreed with Duguid holding that the law applies to a notification system like Facebook that has the capacity to dial automatically stored numbers.

Ultimately, the case went all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court ruled that to qualify as an “automatic telephone dialing system” under the TCPA, a device must have the capacity either to store a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator or to produce a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator.

The case hinged on whether the clause “using a random or sequential number generator” in §227(a)(1)(A) modifies both of the two verbs that precede it (“store” and “produce”). Facebook contended that it did while Duguid contended that it only modified “produce”. Ultimately, the Supreme Court sided with Facebook, so precedent throughout the land is now that TCPA violations require the use of a random or sequential number generator.

Talk to a TCPA Violations Attorney in Columbus, OH 

The Columbus, OH TCPA violations attorneys at Kohl & Cook Law Firm, LLC represent the interests of those who have received unwanted texts or phone calls from a business in violation of the TCPA. Call our office today to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your lawsuit right away.



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