Path Sued For Sending SMS Messages

For the third time this year, mobile social network Path has been hit with a potential class-action lawsuit for allegedly spamming cell phone users.

In this latest case, San Diego resident Karen Montes alleges that the company sent her a message stating that someone else -- Paris Tobin -- wants to share photos with her on Path. Montes says that Path's message violates the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits companies from using automated dialers to send SMS ads to people's cell phones without their consent. Montes filed suit in the Southern District of California an is seeking class-action status.

Earlier this year, Illinois resident Kevin Sterk filed a similar lawsuit, which is now pending in federal court in that state. A second case, filed this summer by other consumers, was recently withdrawn without prejudice -- meaning that the consumers can bring it again.



Path has moved to dismiss Sterk's case, arguing that it didn't initiate the message sent to him, but merely transmitted it on behalf of Sterk's friend. The company adds that the message's content -- telling him that his friend wanted to share photos with him -- proves “it was solely an informational text message,” as opposed to an ad.

But Sterk counters in court papers that the text message linked to Path's site, which urged him to “submit personal information and register an account for Path’s services.”

Path also contends that it doesn't use the type of automated dialing service covered by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. That matter is pending in front of U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan in the Northern District of California. 

Path is one of many companies to face litigation allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Yahoo, Viacom and Google are among a host of others to face text-spam lawsuits. Google recently agreed to pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that its social apps company Slide used an automated dialing service to send SMS messages to people without first obtaining their consent.

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