SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) — A children's hospital facing a class action lawsuit, alleging violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, is seeking a reprieve from U.S. District Court of the Southern District of California.
Rady Children's Hospital San Diego has filed a memorandum of points and authorities in support of its motion for a stay, motion to strike the class allegations, or in the alternative, motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ complaint in Taneesha Crooks and Anthony Brown, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, v. Rady Children's Hospital San Diego.
The initial complaint revolved around allegations that the hospital communicated with the defendants through unlawful means, causing them to experience anxiety, embarrassment, stress and invasion of their privacy. These unlawful acts allegedly were caused by incessant calls from the hospital's automatic calling system (ATDS).
Crooks and Brown allege that after they incurred a debt to Rady Children's Hospital, the hospital began calling their cell phones using an ATDS and continued to make calls even after both plaintiffs sent a cease and desist letter to the hospital. In addition the plaintiffs have filed a class action on behalf of all citizens who received an automated call from Rady Children's.
The hospital has countered with a memorandum arguing that key provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act are currently in question and will likely be undermined by the anticipated decision in a pending court case, ACA International v. FCC.
This case is a consolidated action challenging one of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rulings that interpreted the TCPA. The FCC's ruling is currently on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Despite the fact the court has not issued a decision in ACA International v. FCC, the hospital's representation argues that a stay and a dismissal of the class action allegations would be in the interest of judicial economy. The defendant argues this would prevent hardship to both parties by helping to ensure that they would not be forced to endure the challenges, such as discovery and preparation for the trial, that would be required, should the case move forward based on a law, that may soon be declared invalid by the court of appeals.
In addition, the defendant's representation has also requested the court dismiss the plaintiff's complaint on grounds that it fails to state a claim.
According to the argument made by the defense in the memorandum, in order to state a claim the plaintiff must allege the defendant called a cell phone number, using an ATDS and without the recipient’s prior express consent. According to the memorandum, the plaintiff's allegations do not demonstrate any of these things.
The move for dismissal cites the plaintiffs' claim they were receiving targeted calls from Rady Children's Hospital, which it argues contradicts their assertion that they were contacted by an ATDS. This, in turn, means that the plaintiffs have failed to plead plausible facts to support their allegations, which is cause for the court to dismiss the complaint, the defendant argues.