Fourth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of TCPA and MDTCPA Action Obtained by Multi-State Team on Behalf of Energy Company

March 2023

A Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani team consisting of Hartford Partner Thomas C. Blatchley and Maryland Partner Brian A. Scotti, along with Of Counsel Aubrey E. Blatchley and Associate James H. Golicz, successfully obtained an affirmance by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on the appeal of dismissal by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland in an action asserting numerous violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Maryland Telephone Consumer Protection Act against an energy company.

The original 17-count complaint was filed in Maryland state court but was removed to the District of Maryland by the Gordon & Rees team, who successfully had the case dismissed without prejudice. After the plaintiff re-pled, the firm's team again obtained dismissal with prejudice of 13 of the 17 counts alleged, in addition to dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims for treble damages and attorneys’ fees.  

The multi-state team also sought and obtained discovery sanctions against the plaintiff, including the recovery of fees and costs, in addition to an evidence preclusion order.

The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment on the remaining four counts of the complaint alleging TCPA and MDTCPA violations. The district 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. The district court denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion, entered judgment in favor of the defendant on all remaining counts, and closed the case.   

The Fourth Circuit found no reversible error and affirmed the district court’s entry of judgment in favor of the energy company.

The firm’s client is pleased with this successful result.