PHILADELPHIA – For the second time, a Pennsylvania federal judge has ruled for Yahoo! in a lawsuit that seeks to penalize the company for thousands of email notifications. And again, the plaintiff is appealing.
On Jan. 27, Judge Michael Baylson granted summary judgment to Yahoo! for a second time. His first ruling was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Bill Dominguez recently filed another appeal to the Third Circuit. He is represented by Francis & Mailman attorneys David A. Searles, Geoffrey H. Baskerville, John Soumilas, Mark D. Mailman, Lauren K.W. Brennan and James A. Francis.
Francis declined to comment in detail on the rulings of the case. He is seeking to impose penalties on each of the more than 27,000 texts his client received.
“The plaintiff has appealed, and therefore we do not think that any further comments are appropriate,” he told the Pennsylvania Record.
The Dominguez v. Yahoo! Inc. case has been going on for years after Bill Dominguez took legal action against Yahoo! in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He accused the company of sending unsolicited text messages to his cell phone, allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
The texts were converted emails.
Yahoo! said it didn’t actually break any regulations when sending Dominguez the messages because the rule only counts when they are sent using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS). The telecommunications company said it didn’t use this method to send the texts to the Plaintiff.
Baylson agreed, but the Third Circuit overruled. It told Baylson to “address more fully in the first instance whether Yahoo!’s equipment meets the statutory definition.”
Yahoo! contends that its system is not an ATDS because the system lacks the "capacity" to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator.
Baylson considered 2015 Federal Communications Commission rule that impacted the term "capacity."
Baylson wrote in his recent opinion that it’s unclear what category this FCC regulation falls under and mentioned his "dismay that the majority of FCC Commissioners would have issued it without any characterization – thus, infecting numerous district court judges with the disease of uncertainty … resembling a ‘mongrel’ – with no offense to dogs.”
Yahoo! is represented by Brian T. Feeney, Lori Chang, Wendy Mantell and Ian C. Ballon of Greenberg Traurig which has offices in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
Yahoo! spokesperson Suzanne Philion did comment on the case.
“We’re pleased that the court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania entered judgment in our favor.”
The company emphasized that it did not violate any regulations when it comes to contacting consumers.
“[The Court held] that our email-to-text alert system did not constitute an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) within the meaning of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.”
Dominguez said Yahoo sent him 27,809 text messages after he bought a cell phone but used the same number as its previous owner, the Pennsylvania Recordreported previously.