The US District Court of Illinois recently rejected the dismissal argument that Path, the social networking service, put on the table, costing them the first round in their mobile spam lawsuit.
The company has been accused of sending SMS messages to consumers without first inviting them to join their service, and the recent ruling to toss their dismissal argument allows the class-action lawsuit filed by Illinois resident Kevin Sterk to proceed.
Filed in March 2013, Sterk’s complaint alleges that the social networking service violated TCPA laws by sending SMS ads using auto dialers without first getting permission from recipients. In his complaint Sterk alleges that an unsolicited text was sent to him by Path telling him that another Path user wanted to show him photos on the service’s website, and that the same message also had a link to that website with instructions on how to register and join.
Path argued that, since their company was relying on “human intervention” and only sent messages to people whose phone numbers were provided by the already existing Path users, they weren’t using an automated dialing system.
U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan disagreed with their argument. He ruled that “The undisputed evidence shows that the equipment used by Path’s agent made calls from the list without human intervention,” adding “It is such calling that the section of the TCPA at issue in this case covers, not the collection of numbers for storage.”
Path has a number of other arguments pending, but this round definitely goes to the US District Court.