Last Thursday, a District of Arizona judge ordered a putative Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action filed against Homes.com, Incorporated to be transferred to the Eastern District of Virginia. The court granted the defendant’s contested motion to transfer the suit and denied its motions to dismiss, strike the proposed class definition, and stay the case pending resolution of a TCPA case before the Supreme Court without prejudice, to be refiled in the case’s new district.
According to the complaint, the defendant is a Norfolk, Va. headquartered company that operates a real estate website which, among other things, generates listing leads for real estate agents. The order reported the plaintiff’s contentions that Homes.com markets these leads through the use of unsolicited, autodialed text messages that are blasted out to thousands of customers’ cellular telephone numbers, allegedly in violation of the TCPA.
In her March 2020 complaint, plaintiff Lisa Pierucci argued that she was a victim of Homes.com’s text messaging spam. She reportedly complained that the text message she received “was a nuisance that aggravated her, wasted her time, invaded her privacy, diminished the value of the cellular services she paid for, caused her to temporarily lose the use and enjoyment of her phone, and caused wear and tear to her phone’s data, memory, software, hardware, and battery components.”
The court analyzed Homes.com’s motion to transfer under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), weighing several factors to determine whether it was appropriate. It concluded that, on balance, transfer was warranted, noting that “the only factor weighing against transfer is Pierucci’s choice of forum, but because this is a class action, that choice is only entitled to modest weight.”
It further held that “court congestion and Virginia’s interest in this case strongly favor transfer and the convenience to the parties and witnesses both add to that weight.” It acknowledged that the Eastern District of Virginia, sometimes referred to as “the rocket docket,” handles civil cases twice as fast as the District of Arizona, on average. It concluded that overall, the decision to grant Homes.com’s motion to transfer, was “not a particularly close call.”
The plaintiff is represented by Kaufman PA, Brown Patent Law, and Ahdoot & Wolfson. The defendant is represented by Squire Patton Boggs.