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Drazen v. Pinto

This case is a class action alleging claims under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) against GoDaddy.com for making autodialed calls and texts to mobile phones without the recipients’ consent. The parties proposed a settlement and, in considering objections to the settlement, the district court addressed whether the plaintiff class had Article III standing. Although under the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Salcedo v. Hanna plaintiffs who allege receipt of only one text message in violation of the TCPA lack standing, the district court approved the settlement on the ground that only the named plaintiffs needed to have standing, and that the settlement could include class members who lacked standing under Eleventh Circuit precedent.

The objector appealed the merits of the settlement approval but did not argue that class members lacked standing. The court of appeals, however, held that the settlement had to be vacated because it included class members who lacked standing under Salcedo; the court rejected the view that a class-action settlement could provide recoveries for class members who could not be awarded damages by a court because they lacked standing. The plaintiff petitioned for rehearing en banc, arguing that Salcedo should be overruled and, in the alternative, that class members who lack standing may be included in a class action settlement. The court granted rehearing en banc.

Public Citizen filed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs at the en banc stage. The brief argues that Salcedo should be overruled, explaining that Salcedo wrongly makes standing turn on how much a plaintiff is injured rather than whether she is injured; that Salcedo wrongly focuses on whether an injury recognized by a congressionally conferred right of action would be actionable at common law, rather than whether the injury is related to an injury cognizable at common law; and that Salcedo wrongly concluded that Congress never determined that unconsented-to texts to mobile phones are harmful.