CHICAGO — A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit to continue against Alarm.com over sales calls made by third-party vendors on behalf of the home security company.
The decision in the case of Taraneh Vessal v. Alarm.com was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiff Taraneh Vessal alleged she listed her phone on the Do Not Call Registry in March 2016, but shortly after that, began receiving numerous calls from third-party vendors on behalf of Alarm.com. Vessal allegedly tried to opt out, but kept receiving calls. She alleges Alarm.com violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICPA).
According to the memorandum opinion and order by District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman filed Oct. 18, “[the] plaintiff asserts that she has received more than 75 calls despite her requests to be removed from call lists and databases" and she "alleges harm from the calls from aggravation and intrusions on her privacy, and increased usage of her telephone services, loss of cell phone capacity and battery life, among other things.”
Count I of Vessal’s complaint claimed the defendants violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which restricts telemarketers and the use of automated telephone equipment unless the call is made to collect a debt.
In this case, “[the] plaintiff alleges that Alarm.com is directly liable for all the calls made to Vessal or, alternatively, liable under an agency theory of vicarious liability for the conduct of its alleged third-party dealers,” according to the decision.
Alarm.com also moved to dismiss Count II, the ICFA claim for “failure to adequately allege actual damages and a deceptive act or practice."
Alarm.com doesn’t deny using third parties to sell their services and moved to dismiss the first amended complaint filed by Vessal for failure to state a claim.
“Alarm.com argues that the first amended complaint fails to allege sufficient facts to draw a reasonable inference that Alarm.com is liable for the conduct of the callers," Coleman said in the decision. "Alarm.com further contends that Vessal’s allegations of 'dealer agreements' are too conclusory to satisfy even the minimal requirements of Rule 8. According to Alarm.com, the ICFA claims fail because the damages alleged do not qualify as actual damages under the statute and there are no allegations of a deceptive act or practice committed by Alarm.com.”
The court granted Alarm.com’s dismissal of Count II, the ICFA claim. However, it allowed the case to continue by denying the dismissal of Count I. But the memorandum and order called the allegations “quite slim.”
“The only allegations in the complaint to establish any sort of connection between Alarm.com and the callers are made on [the] information and belief and the assertion that some of the callers identified Alarm.com as their web address," Coleman said in the decision. "The saving grace for Vessal is that the existence of an agency relationship is usually a factual question and any evidence of an agency relationship between Alarm.com and the identified third-party dealers is entirely within Alarm.com’s control.”
Vessal is represented in the action by attorneys with the Sulaiman Law Group Ltd., of suburban Lombard.
Alarm.com is defended by the firm of Jaszczuk P.C., of Chicago.