District Court Finds Pro-Se TCPA Plaintiff’s Attempt To Pierce The Corporate Veil Plausible

As if the TCPA was not scary enough, a magistrate judge in the Southern District of Texas recently recommended allowing claims to pierce the corporate veil and hold individuals personally liable to move forward. See Schumacher v. Capital Advance Solutions, LLC, No. H-18-0436, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34915 (S.D. Tex. Jan. 19, 2019). Notably, this sort of theory is in addition to the rule that corporate officers can be held directly liable for TCPA violations that they personally participate in.

The plaintiff in Schumacher alleged that despite being on the national do-not-call registry, he received calls from Capital Advance marketing business loans. But rather than simply suing the company, the plaintiff did some digging and allegedly identified two individuals as the people behind Capital Advance’s telemarketing strategy. He further alleged that the company was defunct with no assets, and simply a shell to shield the individual defendants from liability for their unlawful telemarketing strategy.

The Magistrate Judge found the allegations of personal liability sufficiently plausible to survive a motion to dismiss. In so holding, the Judge focused on two key allegations. First, the individuals created and used the company for an illegal purpose – presumably, telemarketing that violates the TCPA. Second, the corporation had no assets to satisfy any eventual liability. Piercing the corporate veil would therefore be necessary to ensure that the people who designed and profited from the calls could be held accountable.

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