Last Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a marketing consultant for the United States Navy – the Campbell-Ewald Company – could be held liable for a third-party marketer’s violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) arising out of the transmittal of unsolicited text messages.
The Navy hired Campbell-Ewald to develop and execute a multimedia recruiting campaign and the parties agreed that, as part of the marketing campaign, Campbell-Ewald would send text messages to cellular users that had consented to receive the recruitment solicitation. Campbell-Ewald outsourced the text message dialing to a company called Mindmatics which was responsible both for generating the list of phone numbers to be dialed and for physically transmitting the text messages. In the suit, the plaintiff claimed that he did not consent to receipt of the message and alleged that Campbell-Ewald violated the TCPA. The plaintiff did not name the Navy or Mindmatics as a defendant.