Inviting Robocalls Unlikely to Result in Successful TCPA Claims Says R.I. Court in Case Against International Union of Police Associations

November 14, 2022

Lewis Brisbois’ Providence office, acting as local counsel in collaboration with The Bernhoft Law Firm, recently secured a significant win on behalf of the International Union of Police Associations when the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island granted summary judgment in its favor on a litigious plaintiff’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claim.

Providence, R.I. (November 14, 2022) – Lewis Brisbois’ Providence office, acting as local counsel in collaboration with The Bernhoft Law Firm, recently secured a significant win on behalf of the International Union of Police Associations when the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island granted summary judgment in its favor on a litigious plaintiff’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claim. The decision suggests that courts in future cases will similarly reject attempts to recover under the TCPA when it appears that plaintiffs intentionally have attracted robocalls.

The Case

The plaintiff in this matter, Laccinole v. International Union of Police Associations, 21-cv-00240, (D. R.I. 2022), purchased several prepaid cell phones in the hopes that he would receive an illegal robocall and then sue under the TCPA. Upon receiving the telemarketing call he anticipated, Laccinole filed suit against Lewis Brisbois’ client for an alleged TCPA violation.

Lewis Brisbois subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment contending that the evidence established that the plaintiff was not an aggrieved consumer, but instead essentially was running a robocall litigation business. The motion further noted that the plaintiff, who had filed more than 100 cases under the TCPA, never used any of his eight prepaid phones to call anyone and never gave out these phone numbers.

In deciding the motion, the court accepted the union’s arguments and granted summary judgment in favor of Lewis Brisbois’ client.

Takeaway

This decision suggests that judges likely will reject TCPA claims brought by individuals who seek to attract robocalls intentionally through their own actions.

The TCPA was created to protect consumers who, through no fault of their own, become targets of telephone solicitations. The law was not intended to support individuals who intentionally set out to invite robocalls so that they can litigate and potentially collect a settlement or damages.

Going forward, the Laccinole decision will prove instructive for judges who likely will have little tolerance for plaintiffs who create circumstances upon which they hope to base manufactured TCPA claims.

Read more about this case on Law360 (subscription required). For more information on the impact of this decision, contact the author of this alert. Visit our General Liability Practice page for additional alerts in this area.

Author:

Brian C. Newberry, Partner