Policy: Law

Class action complaint filed against Rite Aid alleging spam texts

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Law,Legal Newsline

SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) – A class action lawsuit has been filed against Rite Aid alleging the company sent repeated spam text messages about a prescription alert service to cell phones in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The complaint alleges in February 2013, Rite Aid began sending texts to the cell phone of Clinton Rooney, a resident of San Diego, inviting him to subscribe to the company’s prescription alerts.

Edward J. Schwartz U.S. Courthouse in San Diego

Edward J. Schwartz U.S. Courthouse in San Diego

Rooney claims Rite Aid continued sending messages despite repeated requests to stop, according to a complaint filed May 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

“To begin with, many people do not realize that spam text messages, which are regulated by the federal TCPA, are a cheap, easy-to-use method for companies to market to consumers,” said Robert L. Hyde, an attorney for the plaintiff. “Because of this, businesses are very tempted to abuse this medium.”

Hyde said spam text messaging is in its infancy.

“If these text messages are not addressed, they will become the same problem tomorrow that spam e-mail messaging has become today,” Hyde said. “The TCPA requires prior express consent to receive these messages. However, many businesses, like Rite Aid, view text messaging as an opportunity to spam users on their cellular telephones.

“Currently, at the urging of these corporations, the FCC is considering relaxing that the TCPA in an effort to provide these businesses the ability to spam users, an effort that, in my view, must be resisted by all consumers.

“Lawsuits like Rooney v. Rite Aid… are for this very purpose – to protect consumers across the country.”

Rooney claims the TCPA was designed to prevent calls like the ones he received, and to protect the privacy of citizens like himself.

In enacting the TCPA, Congress intended to give consumers a choice as to how creditors and telemarketers may call them, the complaint states.

Rooney claims the defendant’s acts and omissions constitute numerous and multiple negligent violations of the TCPA and that he and the class are entitled to an award of $500 in statutory damages for each and every violation.

The defendant’s acts and omissions also constitute numerous and multiple knowing and/or willful violations of the TCPA, which entitles Rooney and the class to an award of $1,500 in statutory damages for each and every violation.

Rooney is seeking damages, injunctive relief and any other available legal or equitable remedies. He is being represented by Hyde and Joshua B. Swigart of Hyde & Swigart and Stephen G. Recordon of Recordon & Recordon.

The case has been assigned to District Judge John A. Houston.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California case number: 3:14-cv-01249

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at classactions@legalnewsline.com.

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