Craigslist Posters Can Proceed as Class Over Subsequent Texts

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By Jimmy H. Koo

Consumers that received a telemarketing text message on their mobile phone after placing a car-for-sale ad on Craigslist.org received court approval July 12 to proceed as a class ( Mohamed v. Am. Motor Co. , 2017 BL 239800, S.D. Fla., No. 1:15-cv-23352-MGC, 7/12/17 ).

Plaintiff Ray Mohamed’s amended complaint alleged that used car sales company Off Lease Only Inc. contracted with InstantCarOffer.com to engage in a marketing campaign which involved using an automatic telephonic dialing system to send unsolicited text messages to individuals that placed advertisements to sell vehicles on websites such as the one operated by Craiglist Inc.

Companies that contract for marketing campaigns may be on the hook for authorizing improper commercial marketing rather than the third-party that actually carries out the marketing. The court previously released American Motor Co., which does business as InstantCarOffer, as a defendant, leaving Off Lease Only to face the class claims.

Mohamed’s Craiglist advertisement explicitly stated that he didn’t want to receive unsolicited services or offers and specified that he didn’t want to receive text messages.

Narrowed Class

Alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Mohamed moved for class certification.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres June 8 recommended certifying a class of plaintiffs that received unsolicited text messages from InstantCarOffer on behalf of Off Lease Only.

However, Judge Marcia G. Cooke narrowed the proposed class to individuals who posted their car ads on Craigslist.org that received unsolicited text messages from InstantCarOffer.com on behalf of Off Lease Only through the use of a dialing platform made by Twilio Inc. The court said whether Twilio constitutes an automatic telephonic dialing system, as defined by the TCPA, will be resolved on a class-wide basis.

The exact number of potential class members is at present unknown, according to court documents.

Bret Lusskin PA; Hiraldo PA; Law Office of Scott D. Owens; Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman PL; and Scott D. Owens PA represented Mohamed. Arnstein & Lehr LLP represented Off Lease Only.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jimmy H. Koo in Washington at jkoo@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Donald Aplin at daplin@bna.com

For More Information

Full text of the court's opinion is available at http://src.bna.com/qI8

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