An Atlanta, Ga.-based manager of apartment buildings for college students could face a nationwide class action, after an Illinois man accused the company of sending him and potentially thousands of others spam text ads, allegedly in violation of a federal law governing how and when companies can contact potential customers on their mobile phones.
On July 25, plaintiff William Truong, identified in the complaint solely as a resident of Illinois, filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against Peak Campus Management.
According to the company’s website, Peak Campus Management specializes in managing apartment properties in communities surrounding colleges and universities. The company boasts 95 properties in 29 states. In Illinois, Peak Campus’s website advertises buildings located near the University of Illinois at Chaimpaign-Urbana; Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal; Western Illinois University in Macomb; and in Chicago, near both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago, among others.
Peak Campus’s website does not list rents for its properties in Illinois. But according to an article published in 2015 by DNAInfo.com, rents at the Vue53 property in Hyde Park, which Peak Campus lists among those in its portfolio, start at $1,400 per month for unfurnished studio apartments.
The complaint does not definitively state if Truong was a tenant at a Peak Campus-managed property, or how Peak Campus may have acquired his mobile number.
But in the lawsuit, Truong said Peak Campus has, since 2014, sent advertisements via text message to him and potentially thousands of others like him.
He said he received the first message in October 2014, in which Peak Campus allegedly offered Truong $200 to “renew” a lease at Peak Campus’s Tailor Lofts property near UIC in Chicago.
Truong said he continued to receive “numerous additional spam text message advertisements” from Peak Campus “for … weeks thereafter, further invading his privacy.” He alleged the text message ads were “unauthorized” and violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, as they “were sent en masse through the use of a short code without the prior express written consent” of those who received them.
Truong asked the court to certify a class of additional plaintiffs across the country, which he estimated could number in the thousands.
He also asked for the court to award unspecified actual or statutory damages, plus attorney fees.
Truong is represented in the action by attorney Michael J. McMorrow, of McMorrow Law PC, of Chicago.