A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Taco Bell violated a federal law by texting a user to confirm that he opted out of receiving future messages.
"To impose liability ... for a single, confirmatory text message would contravene public policy and the spirit of the statute-prevention of unsolicited telemarketing in a bulk format," U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Huff wrote in a decision throwing out the lawsuit. Huff dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning that Ibey can attempt to amend his allegations and file the lawsuit again.
The dispute dates to Valentine's Day of this year, when California resident Jason Ibey agreed to participate in a Taco Bell promotion by taking a survey. He initially sent a text message to Taco Bell, but then changed his mind and texted the word "stop" to the company.
Taco Bell then allegedly sent Ibey a final text, confirming that he wanted to opt out of receiving future SMS messages.
The following month, Ibey sued Taco for allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. That law prohibits companies from using an automated dialing service to send SMS messages to people without first obtaining their consent.
Taco Bell asked Huff to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that sending a single message in order to confirm an opt-out request didn't violate the statute. Huff agreed with Taco Bell, writing that the company's final message to Ibey "does not appear to demonstrate an invasion of privacy."
Taco Bell isn't the only company to be sued for allegedly sending a text message confirming an opt-out. Facebook, MySpace and Twitter also were hit with similar lawsuits last year. Those cases were all withdrawn shortly after they were filed, and before any judges ruled on whether sending a text in order to confirm an opt-out request violated the law.