Washington, DC — On February 24, 2015, Arent Fox LLP obtained summary judgment for CallFire, Inc. when a federal judge ruled the cloud telephone service provider could not be liable in a class action lawsuit that claimed the company violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and Washington State law.
Communications, Technology & Mobile partner Michael B. Hazzard led the team from Arent Fox that delivered a complete victory before the US District Court for the Western District of Washington. Arent Fox successfully argued that, as a common carrier, CallFire does not have liability under the TCPA or analogous state laws when serving as an intermediate conduit for the calls its customers initiate. A link to the decision is here.
“This decision should go a long way in eliminating harassing class action litigation,” said Mr. Hazzard, “while enabling innovative technology companies like CallFire to focus on growing their businesses and creating jobs.” CallFire was also represented by associate Adam D. Bowser and project assistant Girija Hathaway.
In Rinky Dink, Inc. vs. Electronic Merchant Systems, two plaintiffs filed a putative class action complaint after they each received one prerecorded call from a vendor selling credit card processing services. The plaintiffs claimed that CallFire violated the TCPA and the Washington Automatic Dialing and Announcing Device (WADAD) statute on the theory that both CallFire and the customer using its telephone services had initiated prerecorded calls.
In its motion for summary judgment, Arent Fox noted that the undisputed facts established that CallFire is a common carrier immune from TCPA liability because 1) CallFire offers telephone service to the public at large under the same terms and conditions; and 2) CallFire’s telephone service allows a customer to transmit messages of the customer’s own design and choosing.
As a result, CallFire does not control the content, timing, or recipients of the messages that its customers choose to send. Based on these undisputed facts, the court ruled that “CallFire is a common carrier, and therefore is not subject to liability for alleged violations of the” TCPA. Arent Fox also successfully argued that CallFire does not “initiate” the calls that its customers choose to transmit through CallFire’s telephone service, and therefore CallFire could not have violated either the TCPA or WADAD.
Arent Fox’s Communications, Technology & Mobile practice is recognized by Legal 500 as a national leader in litigation, regulatory, and transactional counsel. Quick, smart, and strategic, the group advises established telecommunications providers, technology and software companies, large defense contractors, universities, research networks, and entrepreneurs operating in the communications and high-tech space.