Bally v First National Bank Omaha
ORDER denying 8 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by District Judge John Corbett O'Meara. (WBar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 17-10632
Hon. John Corbett O’Meara
FIRST NATIONAL BANK
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Before the court is Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, filed June 6,
2017. The court heard oral argument on September 14, 2017. Subsequently, the
parties submitted supplemental briefs. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff’s
motion is denied.
Plaintiff Thomas Bally alleges that Defendant First National Bank of Omaha
violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227 et
seq., when it repeatedly called his cellular telephone without his consent.
On December 6, 2016, Defendant called Plaintiff in an attempt to collect a
debt. During that call, Plaintiff told Defendant to stop calling him, then
immediately hung up the phone. See Pl.’s Ex. 4 (audio recording); Pl.’s Ex 1.
Defendant’s representative, Marveen Fredrickson, apparently not realizing that
Plaintiff had hung up, asked when Plaintiff would be able to make his past due
payment. Pl.’s Ex. 4; Def.’s Ex. A (Declaration of M. Fredrickson). Fredrickson
contends that she did not hear and understand Plaintiff’s request to not to call him,
or she would have brought the matter to the attention of her supervisor, as she had
been trained to do. Def.’s Ex. A at ¶¶4-5, 9-10. According to Fredrickson, the
supervisor would have removed Plaintiff’s cell phone number from the account. Id.
Defendant continued to make collection calls to Plaintiff’s cell phone after
December 6, 2016. According to Defendant’s records, ninety-six calls were made
to Plaintiff’s cell phone between December 7, 2016, and January 20, 2017. Pl.’s
Ex. 6. These calls were made using an automatic telephone dialing system, the
“Avaya Predictive Dialer 5.1.” Pl.’s Ex. 7. Plaintiff did not answer these calls.
On January 20, 2017, Plaintiff answered a call from Defendant. Defendant’s
representative, Fauna Papstein, asked whether Plaintiff could make a payment
toward his account. Plaintiff indicated that he could not and asked Papstein to stop
calling, then hung up. See Pl.’s Ex. 13 (audio recording). Unsure of what Plaintiff
said, Papstein then asked if Plaintiff was requesting a “cease and desist,” but he
had already terminated the call. See id.; Def.’s Ex. B (Declaration of F. Papstein).
Papstein had her supervisor remove Plaintiff’s cell phone number from the
account. No further phone calls were made to Plaintiff’s cell phone from
Defendant after January 20, 2017.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Plaintiff seeks summary judgment in his favor. Summary judgment is
appropriate if “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving
party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).
The TCPA makes it unlawful
(A) to make any call (other than a call made for
emergency purposes or made with the prior express
consent of the called party) using any automatic
telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded
(iii) to any telephone number assigned to a paging
service, cellular telephone service, specialized mobile
radio service, or other radio common carrier service, or
any service for which the called party is charged for the
47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(A)(iii). To establish a prima facie case under §
227(b)(1)(A)(iii), a plaintiff must show that: “(1) a call was placed to a cell or
wireless phone; (2) by the use of any automatic dialing system and/or leaving an
artificial or prerecorded message, and (3) without prior consent of the recipient.”
Harris v. World Fin. Network Nat. Bank, 867 F. Supp. 2d 888, 892 (E.D. Mich.
2012) (citation omitted). The statute provides for a private right of action to
recover actual damages or statutory damages in the amount of $500 per violation,
whichever is greater. 47 U.S.C. §227(b)(3). A plaintiff may also recover treble
damages if the court finds that the violation was knowing or willful. Id.
The evidence shows that Defendant made ninety-six calls to Plaintiff’s cell
phone using an automatic dialing system. Plaintiff initially consented to receiving
calls on his cell phone by providing his number to Defendant. See Hill v.
Homeward Residential, Inc., 799 F.3d 544, 551 (6th Cir. 2015). A party may
revoke his consent, however, by “clearly express[ing] his or her desire not to
receive further calls.” Van Patten v. Vertical Fitness Grp., LLC, 847 F.3d 1037,
1048 (9th Cir. 2017). See also Osorio v. State Farm Bank, F.S.B., 746 F.3d 1242
(11th Cir. 2014) (called party may orally revoke prior consent). Plaintiff contends
that his revocation of consent was clear. Defendant’s representatives, however,
aver that they did not clearly hear Plaintiff’s request to stop calling and were
unable to seek clarification because he immediately hung up the phone.
Reasonable minds could differ regarding whether Plaintiff clearly expressed his
desire not to receive further calls from Defendant. Under the circumstances,
whether Plaintiff revoked his consent is an issue of fact for the jury.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion for
summary judgment is DENIED.
s/John Corbett O’Meara
United States District Judge
Date: October 26, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon
counsel of record on this date, October 26, 2017, using the ECF system.
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