Last week, the plaintiff in Alvarez v. Sunshine Life & Health Advisors LLC the first Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) action to settle on a class basis — filed his motion for preliminary approval of the settlement. And the settlement is an interesting one. The settlement provides that the defendant will make available $2,556,000 as part of a common fund from which the following amounts will be paid:

  1. Each settlement class member who submits a valid claim form will receive a check in the amount of $300;
  2. An incentive award to the plaintiff in the amount of $5,000 for his service as the putative class representative;
  3. Attorneys’ fees and costs totaling 20% (or $511,200) of the common fund; and
  4. The costs of settlement notice and administration.


Continue Reading About That First Florida Telephone Solicitation Act Class Action Settlement…

Several years ago, in Salcedo v. Hanna, the Eleventh Circuit held that the receipt of a single allegedly unsolicited, autodialed text message was not a concrete enough injury-in-fact to establish Article III standing for a plaintiff under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). We covered that decision here. Since then, the Salcedo court’s reasoning has been applied by Florida district courts in cases involving five text messages, the receipt of ringless voicemails, and unanswered prerecorded message calls.

At the Florida state court level, however, the issue of whether the mere receipt of an unsolicited, autodialed text message or call (or even several) without any attendant harm is enough to satisfy standing under the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) is unsettled. This past March, in Alvarez v. Sunshine Life & Health Advisors LLC, a judge in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court held that, under Florida law, the receipt of two purportedly unsolicited, autodialed text messages was enough to support the plaintiff’s standing to bring an FTSA claim. That judge found that an alleged legal injury—the simple violation of the FTSA—without any attendant actual harm or damages is enough to give plaintiffs a ticket into state court because Florida courts do not follow the same standing analysis as federal courts do under Article III.

Continue Reading How a Recent FACTA Decision Impacts the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act’s Standing Analysis

Everyone remember that Alvarez v. Sunshine Life & Health Advisors LLC putative Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) litigation we’ve covered? You know, the one where the plaintiff’s counsel argued that the FTSA extends to text messages, whereas its federal counterpart, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), “doesn’t even regulate text messages”?  It’s the case where

As readers of this blog know, several states recently amended (or attempted to amend) their telemarketing laws, especially as they relate to regulating autodialers. While they don’t affect autodialing, telemarketers should take notice of the amendments to Washington state’s telemarketing statutes (available here), which go into effect June 9. And both houses of the New York General Assembly have passed a bill amending its Do Not Call Law (although it has not yet been signed by the governor).

About a week ago, Oklahoma passed its Telephone Solicitation Act of 2022, which goes into effect at the beginning of November. The Oklahoma law is patterned after the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA), which was amended in July 2021 to allow for a private right of action. After the July 2021 FTSA amendments went into effect, hundreds of class actions were filed alleging violations of Florida’s law, prompting the Florida legislature to volley about several additional proposed amendments earlier this year. However, in March 2022, at the end of the legislative session, the various proposed FTSA amendments were “indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration.” At least for the time being . . .

Back to Washington and New York. There are several changes to those states’ laws that are of importance to telemarketers. Washington’s amendments include, among other things:

Continue Reading Washington State and New York Join the State Telemarketing Law Amendment Fray

Late last week, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed the state’s Telephone Solicitation Act of 2022 (OTSA) into law.

A couple of months ago, as the legislation was working its way through the Oklahoma state legislature, we noted that, like its Florida counterpart – the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) – the law would prohibit “a telephonic sales call to be made if such call involves an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers . . . without the prior express written consent of the called party.” (Emphasis added.)

The OTSA maintains the above-identified autodialer prohibition but, like the FTSA, fails to define what an “automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers” actually is. And, just as with the Florida law, the Oklahoma statute creates a rebuttable presumption that any call or text message to a phone number with an Oklahoma area code is made to an Oklahoma resident or person physically present in the state at the time of receipt. The statute allows for private enforcement and provides for uncapped statutory damages of $500 per violation (potentially tripled if the violation is deemed to be willful or knowing). The law goes into effect on November 1, 2022, likely triggering waves of autodialer litigation.

Continue Reading New Oklahoma Telephone Solicitation Act Is Not OK – But It Does Contain an Important Exemption

Venable hosted another jam-packed session on the regulatory and litigation risks facing the lead generation industry today, and strategies for mitigating them. In the webinar, Daniel Blynn, Alexandra Megaris, and Jonathan Pompan covered federal and state law enforcement priorities; TCPA, legislative, licensing, and regulatory developments; and more.

Key takeaways:

  • Dive into federal and

We’ve previously detailed the problem with the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA), which, on its face, expansively prohibits the use of “an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers or the playing of a recorded message when the connection is completed” without the recipient’s prior express written consent. Fla. Stat. § 501.059(8)(a) (emphasis added).

Thus, arguably, even if a live human manually presses each digit in a ten-digit telephone number to place a telemarketing call or to send a marketing text message, if a system automatically selected those numbers for the representative to dial, it might be considered “autodialing” under the FTSA. (We have our doubts but, then again, no one refers to us as “Judges Blynn and Rinehart” . . . yet(?).) By comparison, the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) definition is more restrictive and industry-favorable, requiring that telephone numbers be randomly or sequentially generated and called without human involvement. Dialing from a stored list of telephone numbers is not autodialing under the TCPA, as long as those numbers themselves are not pulled out of thin air.

Continue Reading “Indefinitely Postponed and Withdrawn From Consideration”: Florida Telephone Solicitation Act Amendments Wait for Another Day

There have been scores of Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) class actions filed since July 1, 2021, when the statute was amended to provide for a private right of action; the Florida legislature thinks that number may be more than 100. As might be expected, there are a number of motions to dismiss pending in FTSA litigations. Many make arguments regarding the constitutionality of the statute and/or that the law is preempted by its federal counterpart (the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)). A couple of defendants also have argued lack of standing, i.e., that the receipt of one or two allegedly unsolicited, autodialed text messages does not constitute a sufficiently concrete injury to confer standing on the plaintiff.

Continue Reading First Florida Telephone Solicitation Act Dismissal Decision Issues, and It Has Virtually Nothing to Do with the Statute

For years, the plaintiffs’ bar has been filing Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class actions alleging the receipt of unsolicited, autodialed text messages. But the TCPA’s autodialer prohibition explicitly refers to “calls,” not text messages, whereas other provisions of the statute, namely the Truth in Caller ID Act, expressly extend to both “text messaging service[s].” In fact, that section of the TCPA even includes a definition for “text message.”

Nonetheless, based on dicta from a decade-old Supreme Court decision addressing whether federal courts have concurrent jurisdiction with state courts over TCPA claims, Mims v. Arrow Financial Services, LLC, the plaintiffs’ bar regularly includes in its autodialer complaints an allegation that text messages are calls for purposes of applying and construing the TCPA. During the December 2020 oral argument before the Supreme Court in Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid, Justice Clarence Thomas questioned “why a text message is considered a call under the TCPA” in the first place. But the issue was not before the Supreme Court; nor did the Court address it in its decision.

So, text messages still are generally considered to be “calls” under the TCPA subject to its autodialer prohibition. But, remarkably, just two weeks ago in Alvarez v. Sunshine Life & Health Advisors LLC, a putative Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) autodialer class action arising out of the plaintiff’s receipt of a single text message (maybe two, depending on how the complaint is construed), the plaintiff’s counsel the position that the TCPA and FTSA are different in that the FTSA covers text messaging, whereas the TCPA does not.

Continue Reading Did a Prolific TCPA Plaintiffs’ Attorney Just Argue That the Statute Does Not Regulate Text Messaging? The Hearing Transcript Says Yes

Musical Theater was one of my favorite elective courses in high school, probably because a fair amount of the curriculum involved watching musicals on television. (Kids today will never feel the absolute exuberation from seeing a VCR cart being rolled through the classroom door.) One of the catchiest tunes I remember was the main title track from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic, Oklahoma!

A recent bill introduced in the Oklahoma state legislature has me humming that tune, though I’m not so sure the “wavin’ wheat,” which “can sure smell sweet when the wind comes right behind the rain” will be able to mask the stench rising from the influx of telemarketing litigation that surely will be filed in the state, should the bill as proposed actually become law.

Oklahoma House Bill 3168 (which is available here), as currently drafted, prohibits “a telephonic sales call to be made if such call involves an automated system for the selection or dialing of telephone numbers . . . without the prior express written consent of the called party.” (Emphasis added.) The disjunctive “selection or dialing” term is the same as the one employed in the current version of the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA), which we’ve blogged about previously here.

Continue Reading Oklahoma Proposed Autodialer Legislation Would Cause Litigation to Come Sweepin’ Down the Plain