Bridging Communities, Inc. v. Top Flite Financial, Inc., No. 15-1572 (6th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Abraham operated B2B, a fax advertising company. Abraham has testified that she believed it was legal to send fax advertising to companies that had an established business relationship with the sender and mistakenly thought the companies on her list met that standard. B2B faxed an advertisement for Top Flite—a Michigan mortgage company—to more than 4,000 fax numbers, using that list. Recipients alleged that the fax was unsolicited and that they did not have an established business relationship with Top Flite and filed suit under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 227. The district court denied class certification, making “no determinations” as to the requirements in Rule 23(a), but focusing on Rule 23(b)(3)'s requirement of predominance. The court expressed concern that individual class members might have consented to receiving the challenged faxes, and that determining whether they had consented would require investigation of each person or business. Top Flite then offered to allow an injunction and judgment of $1,550. Under Rule 68(b), the offers lapsed. Top Flite successfully moved to dismiss, arguing that because the court had denied class certification and plaintiffs had failed to accept offers of judgment that encompassed all of the individual relief sought, the complaints were moot. The Sixth Circuit reversed. Speculation alone regarding individualized consent was insufficient to defeat plaintiffs’ showing of predominance under Rule 23(b)(3) and the unaccepted settlement offer was a nullity.