Curaleaf Becomes Latest Pot Co. Targeted With TCPA Suit
Law360 (August 12, 2020, 10:30 PM EDT) — Curaleaf Inc., which bills itself as the world’s largest cannabis corporation, has been hit with a lawsuit in New York federal court accusing it of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, making it the latest pot company to face such a claim.
Katherine Brooks of New Windsor, New York, filed the proposed class action Tuesday, claiming Curaleaf broke the law by using an automated system to “bombard consumers’ mobile phones with non-emergency advertising and marketing text messages without prior express written consent.”
Brooks is seeking to represent anyone in the U.S. who got text messages within the last four years like the ones she says she received from Curaleaf in June and July.
“The text messages defendant sent to plaintiff consisted of pre-written templates of impersonal text and were identical to text messages defendant sent to other consumers,” Brooks said.
The suit is seeking a court order barring Curaleaf from sending such messages in addition to damages of $500 per text message, tripled because Curaleaf allegedly knew its actions were illegal. Brooks is also asking for attorney fees and costs.
The suit against Curaleaf adds to a growing number of similar lawsuits against other cannabis companies.
Last week, a Missouri-based CBD company called Native Hemp was hit with a TCPA suit in Vermont federal court. And in June, Instagram personality Dan Bilzerian’s luxury cannabis brand Ignite got tied up in a proposed class action over allegedly unauthorized automated ad messages.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule next year on a case that could impact what type of autodialing equipment is banned by the TCPA. In the meantime, cannabis marketing company Baker Technologies — which is facing a TCPA suit in California federal court — wanted to pause its case until the high court decision.
But on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Donna Ryu, who’s handling that case, turned down the request, saying she couldn’t determine whether the cases truly overlap.
Curaleaf did not respond on Wednesday to a request for comment. Counsel for Brooks declined to comment beyond pointing to the court filings.
Brooks is represented by Siddartha Rao of Romano Law PLLC and Abbas Kazerounian of Kazerouni Law Group APC.
Counsel information for Curaleaf wasn’t immediately available Wednesday.
The case is Katherine Brooks v. Curaleaf Inc., case number 1:20-cv-06323, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
–Additional reporting by Sarah Jarvis, Diana Novak Jones and Sam Reisman. Editing by Janice Carter Brown.