Ah, class action lawsuits in action. If you want an idea of how the class action lawsuit process is often used for completely ridiculous purposes, just take a look at three separate lawsuits filed by a bunch of California lawyers. Each lawsuit is separate (and embedded below), and all three were pointed out by Eric Goldman
. The lawsuits are against Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, and all are basically identical, other than the plaintiff. They're all attempts to file class actions against these companies for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which is supposed to block unsolicited contact to mobile phone lines. In all three cases, the plaintiffs were people who willingly
turned on a feature in early April to receive text messages from each of these services. At some later date (probably a few days), each plaintiff chose to no longer receive those text messages, and responded to a message received by texting back "stop." As is quite typical, each of these services sent a message back to confirm
that the person no longer wanted to receive such text messages. This is a completely standard procedure. And yet, these lawsuits claim that those
messages broke the law, because the second the "stop" message was sent, any and all future messages, even the confirmation message, were unsolicited:
Plaintiff continued to receive text message notifications from Defendant. At
some point Plaintiff decided that he no longer wanted to receive text message
notifications on his cellular telephone from Defendant.
Plaintiff then responded to Defendant’s last text message notification by
At this point, Plaintiff withdrew any type of express or implied consent to
receive text message notification to his cellular telephone.
In response to receiving this revocation of consent, Defendant then
immediately sent another, unsolicited, confirmatory text message to Plaintiff’s
I can't see any of these lawsuits getting very far, and one would think there should be some sort of sanctions for setting up a situation like this solely for the purpose of filing a class action lawsuit. A confirmation message that the service provider is not to contact you again is hardly an unsolicited contact. It seems like it should be easy to argue that it was very much solicited by the individual issuing the "stop" command. That this law firm filed all three of these identical lawsuits at about the same time, also suggests that the message was very much solicited in that this law firm wanted
to receive the confirmation message, solely for the purpose of filing a silly class action lawsuit (or three). The thing is, if this lawsuit goes anywhere, it'll create more of a hassle. Many of us like
receiving a confirmation that we've been unsubscribed from something. This is clearly not the intent of the law, and one hopes that the courts will slap this down quickly.