The U.S. Senate campaign of Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke is asking a federal judge to dismiss a class-action complaint alleging violations of a law restricting text messages.
O'Rourke, who narrowly lost his bid to replace Republican Senator Ted Cruz, argues in new court papers that the Texas resident who brought suit didn't suffer the kinds of injuries that warrant a federal lawsuit.
“The complaint lacks any mention of an invasion of privacy, charges incurred, a reduction in usable minutes, or occupation of his telephone line,” the campaign, Beto for Texas, writes in papers filed Monday with U.S. District Court Judge Sam Lindsay in Dallas.
The papers come in response to a lawsuit filed last month by Collin County, Texas resident Sameer Syed, who alleged the campaign violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. That law prohibits the use of automated dialers to send messages to consumers without their permission, and provides for damages of up to $500 per violation.
Beto for Texas argues that people can't sue in federal court unless they have suffered a concrete injury -- even where a statute like the TCPA appears to give people the right to sue. It's not clear whether judges in Texas will agree with that interpretation, but appellate judges in other parts of the country have rejected it and allowed people to sue over violations of TCPA without proving financial harm.
O'Rourke's campaign also says Syed's complaint is too vague. He alleged he received at least 9 text messages from the campaign, all from different phone numbers, and unable to be returned.
Beto for Texas says those allegations are deficient. Syed “does not allege sufficient facts regarding the source of the texts, such as the telephone numbers, that would indicate Beto for Texas is responsible,” the campaign argues. “No additional facts identify or link Beto for Texas specifically to the alleged texts, such as caller ID information, the contents of the messages, or screenshots of the texts identifying Beto for Texas.”