Legal Newsline

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Trump campaign wants federal judge to dismiss lawsuit against it over text messages

Campaigns & Elections

By Solange DeLisle | Mar 13, 2020


MINNEAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) — Attorneys for Donald Trump's campaign have asked a federal judge to dismiss, compel arbitration in or stay a lawsuit over text messages it allegedly sent without permission. 

The motion was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in late February.  The defense's argument comes after three Minnesota residents filed a nationwide class action lawsuit for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which forbids calling a cell phone without prior consent using a fake or prerecorded voice or an automatic dialing system.

Dan Pederson, Connor Olson and Shell Wheeler complained about receiving four text messages from Donald J. Trump for President Inc. They initially filed their complaint on Oct. 18, after they said they received unsolicited text messages about tickets to a campaign rally, were sent to Trump's campaign website, or were sent messages dealing with the hearings and investigations into the president. The plaintiffs said they are Democrats who have never contributed to or attended a rally for Trump. 

Attorneys representing the campaign said their claims "failed for lack of standing."  Attorneys Benjamin Ellison, Brett Shumate and Kaytlin Roholt said none of the plaintiffs brought forward evidence that they received concrete injuries from receiving a text. They also asked the court to force Pederson to arbitrate, since he allegedly agreed to do so. 

Campaign counsel went on to say Penderson's allegations should be dismissed anyways since they allege he gave consent. They claimed he released his phone number to the campaign, therefore giving consent. They also said all three of the plaintiffs' allegations should be dismissed since they failed to prove an autodialer or prerecorded voice was used. 

The attorneys also said if the court doesn't dismiss the complaint, it should stay the case until the Supreme Court decides whether or not TCPA's autodialer ban violates the First Amendment. If it finds it's unconstitutional, counsel believes the plaitiffs' claims would be debatable. 

U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota case number 0:19-cv-02735-JRT-HB

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U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota