Ever received an unwanted text or phone call? The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, also referred to as the TCPA, is meant to protect individuals against these notorious disruptions. The act places restrictions on telemarketing, auto-dialed and pre-recorded calls, text messages, and unsolicited faxes to consumers without prior consent, except if the call is made for an emergency purpose.
Violations of this law lead to litigation for purported TCPA breaches. Prominent companies such as DoorDash and AbbVie have been sued under the law. The scope of the law has evolved over time as well; in April 2021, the Supreme Court ruled in Facebook’s favor, finding that the social media company did not violate the TCPA when it sent unsolicited text messages without prior consent.
According to a review of Docket Alarm data on TCPA litigation, there have been approximately 3,623 filings from January 2020 through June 2022. The average case length is 165 days. These cases were filed under TCPA-related causes of action; there may be more cases filed under different causes of action.
While TCPA suits are filed nationwide, the trend has thrived in California. The most cases were filed in the Central District of California, situated in Los Angeles, with 669 filings. The Northern District of California comes in second with 250 cases. Other top venues include district courts in Florida, Illinois, and Texas.
Analyzing filing volumes per population reveals that Florida, Nevada and Texas are also hotspots of TCPA litigation. Many California TCPA cases also include parallel claims under a similar state law.
Other than anonymous “Doe” defendants, the top targets of TCPA litigation are banks. Capital One Bank has faced 102 TCPA cases, and Bank of America has seen 37. Some of the lawsuits filed against banks bring parallel claims under state statutes or fair debt collection laws.
The Law Firms
Ballard Spahr is the most frequent TCPA defense firm since 2020, according to Docket Alarm data, with 45 cases. They have represented Capital One in 22 matters tracked by the database.
On the plaintiff’s side, the most prominent firm is the Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C., with over 500 cases tracked by Docket Alarm since 2020.
Another frequent-filing plaintiff’s firm is Kaufman PA, a firm specializing in TCPA class actions, according to its website. They have overseen 231 TCPA cases in recent years, according to Docket Alarm data. Sulaiman Law Group is another runner up with 194 cases since 2020.
A Sample Party: Capital One Bank
Analysis of Docket Alarm data for banking heavyweight Capital One reveals that TCPA cases against it have declined heavily in 2022. These filings peaked in the first half of 2020 and petered out after that. It has largely been represented by Ballard Spahr in these matters.
TCPA litigation has occurred nationwide, but has especially flourished in California. Some plaintiff’s law firms seem to specialize in TCPA cases, filing many claims under the statute on behalf of repeat plaintiffs.
Overall, TCPA cases have somewhat declined in 2022, after being a fairly active field of litigation in 2020 and 2021. This could be an indication of efforts to combat robocalling by the FCC, a change in tactics by those who employed robocalls, or simply a declining interest in bringing the cases to court.