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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Class Sues for Trifecta of Obnoxiousness

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A mother claims in a federal class action that "one of the nation's largest purveyors of telephone pornography" sent her spam text messages that were "distressingly viewed" by her 10-year old daughter.

Elaine Harris sued California-based Starline Communications International, seeking statutory and treble damages under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and an injunction ordering it to "cease all wireless spam activities".

The complaint describes a trifecta of obnoxious behavior: sending unwanted spam, which is offensive, at the cost of recipients who don't want it.

The complaint states: "In a recent effort to promote its 'adult' telephone services business, defendant, one of the nation's largest purveyors of telephonic pornography, engaged in an especially pernicious form of marketing: the transmission of unauthorized advertisements, in the form of 'text message' calls to the cellular telephones of consumers throughout the nation.

"By effectuating these unauthorized text message calls (hereinafter, 'wireless spam'), defendant has caused consumers actual harm, not only because consumers were subjected to the aggravation that necessarily accompanies the invasion of privacy caused by wireless spam, but also because consumers like plaintiff frequently have to pay their cell phone service providers for the receipt of such wireless spam."

Citing the Pew Research Center, Harris says 57 percent of adults with cell phones have received "unwanted or spam text messages on their phone."

"Over the course of an extended period beginning in at least 2011, defendant directed the mass transmission of wireless spam to the cell phones nationwide of what it hoped were potential customers of its phone sex services," the complaint states.

"For instance, on or about January 19, 2012, plaintiff's cell phone rang, indicating that a text call was being received.

"The 'from' field of such transmission was identified cryptically as '818-620-6912,' which is a dedicated telephone number or 'long-code' operated by defendant's agents that transmits text messages en masse through devices known as modern banks and/or carrier gateways. The body of such text message read:

Baby I'm Way Hotter Than The Girl Who's Been Getting You Off In Your Wet Dreams! See My Pic & Get My Phone # On http://www.[an Internet address.]

"The website contained in the above text message is owned and operated by defendant and/or its agents and further promotes defendant's products.

"Within days of receiving the above text call, which was distressingly viewed by plaintiff's ten-year old daughter, plaintiff received additional spam text message advertising containing further lewd and offensive content from defendant and/or its agents, in knowing violation of plaintiff's privacy."

Harris seeks $500 in damages for each member of the class, for each violation, trebled.

She is represented by Sean Reis with Edelson McGuire of Rancho Santa Margarita.

The law firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Starline Communications could not be reached.

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