United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS RE:
DKT. NO. 27
M. CHESNEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is defendant Natera, Inc.'s
("Natera") Motion to Dismiss, filed June 18, 2019.
Plaintiff Teresa Hale ("Hale") has filed
opposition, to which Natera has replied. Having read and
considered the papers filed in support of and in opposition
to the motion, the Court rules as follows.
complaint, Hale alleges she has a cellular phone number
"for which [she] is charged for incoming calls and text
messages." (See Compl. ¶ 35.) Hale alleges
that, on April 25, 2018, she received the following text
message on her cellular phone:
Natera received a test order from your doctor! Track your
test in our Patient Portal
(https://my.natera.com/users/signup) using Case ID
1777499. Reply STOP to opt out.
(See Compl. ¶ 1 and Ex. 1.) Hale further
alleges she "knew nothing about" such a test and
"had never heard of" Natera (see id.), let
alone provided Natera "consent" to send her text
messages (see Compl. ¶ 34). According to Hale,
Natera "utilized" an "automatic telephone
dialing system" ("ATDS") to send her the
above-quoted text message. (See Compl. ¶¶
on the above-cited allegations, Hale asserts Natera violated
the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA").
under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
"can be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory
or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable
legal theory." See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). Rule
8(a)(2), however, "requires only 'a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.'" See Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). Consequently, "a complaint attacked by a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual
allegations." See id. Nonetheless, "a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do." See id. (internal
quotation, citation, and alteration omitted).
analyzing a motion to dismiss, a district court must accept
as true all material allegations in the complaint and
construe them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party. See NL Indus., Inc. v. Kaplan, 792 F.2d 896,
898 (9th Cir. 1986). "To survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual material, accepted
as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
the TCPA, it is unlawful to "make any call (other than a
call made for emergency purposes or made with the prior
consent of the called party) using any automatic telephone
dialing system . . . to any telephone number assigned to a .
. . cellular telephone service . . . for which the called
party is charged for the call." See 47 U.S.C.
§ 227(b)(1). The TCPA defines an ATDS as
"equipment which has the capacity - (A) to store or
produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or
sequential number generator; and (B) to dial such
numbers." See 47 U.S.C. § 227(a)(1). The
Ninth Circuit has interpreted such definition as comprising
two types of equipment, specifically, equipment that has the
capacity "to store numbers to be called" and
"to dial such numbers," as well as equipment that
has the capacity "to produce numbers to be called, using
a random or sequential number generator" and "to
dial such numbers." See Marks v. Crunch San Diego,
LLC, 904 F.3d 1041, 1052 (9th Cir. 2018).
argues Hale fails to plead facts sufficient to support a
finding that Natera used an ATDS when it allegedly sent Hale
the text message on which she bases her claim.
survive a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff asserting a
TCPA claim "need not somehow have inside knowledge of a
defendant's operations and equipment"; rather,
"she merely must proffer factual allegations that
support a reasonable inference that an ATDS was used."
See Brown v. Collections Bureau of America, Ltd.,
183 F.Supp.3d 1004, 1005 (N.D. Cal. 2016). Where a TCPA claim
is based on the receipt of a text message, courts have found
various types of factual allegations suffice to support a
reasonable inference the defendant used an ATDS to send it.
For example, claims have been found sufficiently pleaded
where it was alleged the text was "formatted in SMS
short code licensed to defendants, scripted in an impersonal
manner and sent en masse," see Kazemi v. Payless
Shoesource Inc., 2010 WL 963225, at *3 (N.D. Cal. March
16. 2010), where the recipient was requested to type a
one-word response to interact with the text, e.g.,
"Yes," see Meyer v. Bebe Stores, Inc.,
2015 WL 431148, at *4 (N.D. Cal. February 2, 2015), see
also Armstrong v. Investor's Business Daily, Inc.,
2018 WL 6787049, at *6 (C.D. Cal. December 21, 2018)
(listing, among examples of pleadings ...