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 An earlier version of the article had indicated the case had been "withdrawn."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
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
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.