Hartford and Maryland Offices Obtain Victory for Energy Supplier in Maryland Federal Court TCPA and MDTCPA Action

September 2022

A Gordon & Rees team consisting of Hartford Partner Thomas C. Blatchley and Maryland Partner Brian A. Scotti, along with Senior Counsel Aubrey E. Blatchley and Associate James H. Golicz, obtained summary judgment and defeated plaintiff’s cross-motion for summary judgment in the District of Maryland in an action asserting numerous violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") and Maryland Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("MTCPA") against an electricity and natural gas supplier.

The original 17-count complaint was filed in Maryland state court but removed to the District of Maryland by the Gordon & Rees team, who successfully had the case dismissed without prejudice.  After plaintiff re-pled, the firm's team again obtained dismissal with prejudice of 13 of the 17-counts alleged, in addition to dismissal of plaintiff’s claims for treble damages and attorneys’ fees.  The multi-state team thereafter sought and obtained discovery sanctions against plaintiff, including the recovery of fees and costs, in addition to an order precluding plaintiff from relying on certain evidence based on plaintiff’s discovery abuses.

The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the remaining four counts of the complaint alleging TCPA and MDTCPA violations. The court ultimately held that the client-defendant could not be held directly or vicariously liable for the numerous telemarketing calls since there was no evidence of any agency relationship between the client-defendant and its third-party telemarketing vendors, which the court found were properly characterized as independent contractors, and granted summary judgment in favor of the client-defendant on all counts and denied plaintiff’s cross-motion for summary judgment.