Although not itself a defendant in the case, large scale texting platform provider Twilio has just won a critical courtroom victory in the Middle District of Florida. In Northrup v. Innovative Health Ins. Partners, the Court granted a Motion for Summary Judgment to the Defendant, ruling that Twilio’s platform is categorically NOT an Automated Telephone Dialing System, and the texts sent by the Defendant (and thousands of other Twilio users) are not subject to the TCPA.
The Northrup case represents the first time a Court granted summary judgment to a Defendant in reliance upon the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling in Glasser v. Hilton Grand Vacations. For those who didn't catch our previous article announcing the Glasser decision, in that case the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals determined that a dialing platform can only qualify as an ATDS under the TCPA if it randomly or sequentially generates numbers to be dialed. The Defendant in the Northrup Case demonstrated that Twilio’s platform lacked that capability, which led to the Court granting summary judgment in its favor.
The Court in Northrup also opined on the issue of human intervention, concluding that the level of human intervention required to create a text campaign using the Twilio platform (deciding what numbers to text and the content of the messages to be sent to those numbers) was sufficient to disqualify the platform as an ATDS under the TCPA. The Court came to this conclusion despite the fact that there was no meaningful human intervention at the time the messages went out.
The Northrup decision will no doubt be the first of many in the 11th Circuit, where the tide of the TCPA battle appears to be turning in favor of the defense.