June 29, 2018. Soule & Stull won dismissal of a claim against its clients alleging violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Plaintiffs alleged Defendants violated the Act by sending allegedly unsolicited text messages. Because Defendants were based principally in South Carolina, the firm asserted the defense of lack of personal jurisdiction. Minnesota’s federal court granted the motion, dismissing the case at its earliest stage. Kevin Curry wrote the brief and argued the motion for the firm.
Plaintiffs had visited Defendants’ facility on guest passes, and argued the Defendants were subject to personal jurisdiction in Minnesota because one of the Defendants sent text messages to Plaintiffs’ Minnesota cell phones. The Court disagreed, reasoning that text messages were insufficient to confer jurisdiction under Eight Circuit case law, which holds that telephone calls and similar communications to the forum state do not create sufficient contacts to comport with due process. Additionally, the Court reasoned that sending text messages to cell phones with Minnesota area codes was insufficient to confer jurisdiction because a cell phone area code is not a reliable indicator of residence.
You may read a copy of the opinion here.