9th Circuit Finds Art III Standing Under Spokeo in TCPA Case

After a longer delay than several other circuits, the Ninth Circuit has again provided analysis of the Supreme Court’s Spokeo decision – this time in the TCPA context.

In the TCPA context, a strong majority of courts appear to be in agreement that statutory violations give rise to concrete harm.  The Ninth Circuit agrees.

The panel in Van Patten v. Vertical Fitness Group, began its Article III analysis by citing Spokeo for the proposition that “’both history and the judgment of Congress play important roles’ in supporting our conclusion that a violation of the TCPA is a concrete, de facto injury.”

The court elaborated:

The TCPA establishes the substantive right to be free from certain types of phone calls and texts absent consumer consent. Congress identified unsolicited contact as a concrete harm, and gave consumers a means to redress this harm. We recognize that Congress has some permissible role in elevating concrete, de facto injuries previously inadequate in law “to the status of legally cognizable injuries.” Spokeo, 136 S. Ct. at 1549 (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at 578). We defer in part to Congress’s judgment….

[T]he telemarketing text messages at issue here, absent consent, present the precise harm and infringe the same privacy interests Congress sought to protect in enacting the TCPA. Unsolicited telemarketing phone calls or text messages, by their nature, invade the privacy and disturb the solitude of their recipients. A plaintiff alleging a violation under the TCPA “need not allege any additional harm beyond the one Congress has identified.” Id. at 1549 (emphasis in original). Cf. Gomez v. Campbell-Ewald Co., 136 S. Ct. 663, 672 (2016) (affirming that “the District Court retained jurisdiction to adjudicate Gomez’s [TCPA] complaint.”).