On September 27, 2023, Ms. Qiana Martin filed a lawsuit on behalf of herself and other similarly situated individuals against Bottom Line Concepts, LLC ("BLC") in the Southern District of New York. The Complaint alleges that BLC delivered prerecorded calls to consumers, without consent, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA").
Specifically, the Complaint alleges that "Defendant, and various affiliates acting on its behalf, ma[de] prerecorded telemarketing calls soliciting individuals to work with Bottom Line to submit [Employee Retention Credit] ERC applications." The ERC was created by Congress in 2020 to "reward businesses and nonprofits for keeping employees on payrolls during the pandemic."
Unlike the voices featured in many other prerecorded telemarketing call cases, this complaint alleges that the voice (and name) contained in the subject prerecorded message was that of rapper Snoop Dogg, or a facsimile thereof. Reading between the lines, Plaintiff alleges that featuring the voice (and name) of a well-known celebrity may have been a tactic used by the Defendant to entice customers into doing business with it.
Pre-Recorded Call Lawsuits
Unlike many other TCPA cases, Plaintiff does not allege that an automatic telephone dialing system ("ATDS") was used or that her number is on the Federal Do-Not-Call Registry. Additionally, she only brought her claims under the TCPA, with no associated state telemarketing law claims.
At this time, it is unclear whether the voice featured in the subject prerecorded message was that of: (1) Snoop Dogg (who was paid and recorded the message for BLC); (2) artificial intelligence ("AI"); or (3) a celebrity soundalike. If AI was used, this will be one of the many lawsuits that involves rights of publicity issues these days.
As businesses look for new ways to stay current and reach consumers, having proper counsel to guide them through the ever-changing regulatory landscape is critical.
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