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Mauthe v. Optum Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

March 8, 2019, Argued; May 28, 2019, Filed

No. 18-2894

Opinion

 [*131]  GREENBERG, Circuit Judge

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes on before this Court on the appeal of plaintiff Robert W. Mauthe M.D. P.C. challenging the District Court's grant of summary judgment against its complaint brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 ("TCPA"). We consolidated this case for argument with Mauthe v. Nat'l Imaging Assocs., Inc., No. 18-2119, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11232, 2019 WL 1752591 (3d Cir. Apr. 17, 2019) ("NIA"), a case that the same plaintiff filed against a different defendant under the TCPA because the two cases raised similar issues. Although the plaintiff in both cases is a professional corporation, we will [**2]  refer to the plaintiff as Robert W. Mauthe, as though an individual, as we did in NIA. In this case, Mauthe alleged that he received an unsolicited advertisement via fax from defendants Optum, Inc. and OptumInsight, Inc., related entities, in violation of the TCPA and included in his complaint a supplemental state law claim for common law conversion. Defendants moved for summary judgment, and the Court granted their motion on the TCPA claim and dismissed the state law claim without prejudice, as it declined to exercise jurisdiction over it. Robert Mauthe, M.D. PC v. Optum, Civ. No. 17-1643, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125796, 2018 WL 360912 (E.D. Pa. July 27, 2018) ("Optum"). For the reasons stated below, we will affirm the order of the Court in both respects.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The facts of this case are essentially undisputed. Defendants maintain a national database of healthcare providers, containing providers' contact information, demographics, specialties, education, and related data. Defendants market, sell, and license the database typically to health care, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, who use it to update their provider directories, identify potential providers to fill gaps in their network of providers, and validate information when processing  [*132]  insurance claims. Obviously, it is important [**3]  that the information contained in the database be accurate and Mauthe, who is a healthcare provider, does not contend otherwise.

One of the ways defendants update and verify the information in their database is to send unsolicited faxes to healthcare providers listed in the database, requesting them to respond and correct any outdated or inaccurate information. The faxes inform the recipients that:

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925 F.3d 129 *; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 15742 **

ROBERT W. MAUTHE, M.D., P.C., Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. OPTUM INC., OPTUMINSIGHT, INC. ROBERT W. MAUTHE, M.D., P.C., Appellant

Subsequent History: US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Robert W. Mauthe, M.D., P.C. v. Optum, Inc., 2019 U.S. LEXIS 7169 (U.S., Nov. 25, 2019)

Prior History:  [**1] On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (D.C. Civ. No. 5-17-cv-01643). Honorable Edward G. Smith, District Judge.

Mauthe v. Optum, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125796 (E.D. Pa., July 27, 2018)

CORE TERMS

fax, advertisement, purchasing, database, provider, sender, unsolicited, third party, third-party, recipient, sending, defendants', pretext, buyer, summary judgment, healthcare, decisions, profits, update

Civil Procedure, Judgments, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appeals, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Antitrust & Trade Law, Consumer Protection, Telemarketing, Business & Corporate Compliance, Communications Law, Federal Acts, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Judicial Officers, Judges, Discretionary Powers, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supplemental Jurisdiction, Pendent Claims