October has been a good month to be a plaintiff in a class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) in the Ninth Circuit. Twice this month, that court has issued pro-plaintiff rulings, upholding a preliminary injunction against one defendant and reversing a district court’s grant of summary judgment to another defendant. See Meyer v. Portfolio Recovery Assocs., LLC, No. 11-56600 (9th Cir. Oct. 12, 2012); Chesbro v. Best Buy Stores, LP, No. 11-35784 (9th Cir. Oct. 17, 2012).
The TCPA restricts calls using an “automatic telephone dialing systems” or artificial or prerecorded voice messages. Absent “prior express consent” or an emergency, no one may make such calls to a mobile phone number. The TCPA also restricts prerecorded (or artificial voice) telephone solicitations to a residential number. TCPA class actions are becoming increasingly common, in large part because the statute provides for damages of $500 per violation. In Meyer and Chesbro, the Ninth Circuit offered a survey of many of the recurring issues in TCPA class actions.