Editor's note: This article has been updated to include input from the plaintiff in this action. An earlier version of the article had indicated the case had been "withdrawn." 

A class action lawsuit alleging Donald Trump’s presidential campaign texted people without their permission has been dismissed, court documents show. And the plaintiff in the case has told The Cook County Record the case was setttled. 

On Jan. 11, plaintiff Joshua Thorne, through his lawyers with the firms of Siprut P.C. and Bock, Hatch, Lewis & Oppenheim LLC, each of Chicago, filed a notice in Chicago federal court of his intention to voluntarily dismiss, with prejudice, the lawsuit against the Trump campaign, formally known as Donald J. Trump for President Inc.

The notice does not discuss why the lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed. However, in messages to The Cook County Record, Thorne said the case had been settled. He said, on advice of his legal counsel, he could not provide any more detail.

Thorne, identified in court documents as a resident of Cook County, had sued the Trump campaign committee in April, asserting the campaign had violated federal telecommunications law by using an automated program to send campaign-related text messages to Thorne’s mobile phone, as well as potentially many other phones belonging to other people, without receiving permission to do so.

According to the complaint, Thorne had received a text message on March 4 from Trump for President, asking him to “Reply YES to subscribe to Donald J. Trump for President,” and telling him “Your subscription will help Make America Great Again!”

The complaint asserted the source of the message, listed as “88022” is a texting short code “leased by Trump for President of Trump for President’s agent(s) or affiliate(s) and is used for operating Trump for President’s text message marketing program.”

Thorne claimed he did not provide his number to the Trump campaign.

The complaint asserted the registrant of the website that hosts Trump’s campaign’s privacy policy is a company identified as Tatango Inc., which “advertises bulk messaging software on its website.” According to the complaint, Tatango’s website brags its programs allow text messages to be simultaneously sent to “42,435 cellular phone numbers.”

“On information and belief, prior to sending the text messages, Trump for President entered into an agreement with Tatango to use Tatango’s software to send hundreds, if not thousands, of text messages en masse,” the complaint said.

Further, the complaint said Thorne and his counsel believe the Trump campaign received a guide on complying with federal law from Tatango prior to sending the text messages.

In September, Thorne had formally asked the court to certify a class of potentially thousands of others who may have received similar text messages from the campaign.

The complaint had asked the court to award damages of up to $1,500 per text message, plus attorney fees.

However, in October, the plaintiffs had withdrawn that motion for class certification, without explanation in court documents.

Thorne said resolution of the case had been delayed as the parties awaited potential further input from the federal government on the possibility of clarifying the applicability of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act to political campaigns. When that guidance was not provided before the end of the 2016 presidential election campaign, the parties agreed to settle the case, Thorne said.

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Organizations in this Story

Bock & Hatch LLC
134 North LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL - 60602

Siprut P.C.
17 N State St
Chicago, IL - 60602

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