In Chinitz v. Intero Real Estate Servs., No. 18-cv-05623-BLF, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 224999, at *8 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 1, 2020), Judge Freeman approved a class administration plan in a TCPA class action that included “reverse lookup”.
First, Intero objects to TransUnion running a reverse lookup on the bases that this method is not reasonably calculated to notify class members and could potentially notify people who are not qualified to be class members. Opp’n 5-6. Intero submits a declaration from Jennifer Smith, a consultant who supports Intero’s position that the reverse lookup process, as it will be used by Chinitz, will not provide notice to enough class members. See Decl. of Jennifer Smith (“Smith Decl.”), ECF 142-1. Chinitz asks the Court to strike this declaration for lacking foundation and evidentiary support. Reply 10. While the Court DENIES this request, the Court finds that the reverse lookup process has been recognized by other courts as a legitimate way to provide notice to class members in other Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA“) cases. Suppl. Decl. of Cameron Azari (“Azari Suppl. Decl.”) ¶¶ 4,6, ECF 144-2; See, e.g., Knapper v. Cox Comm’ns, Inc., 329 F.R.D. 238, 245 (D. Ariz. 2019) (recognizing the reverse lookup process is the industry standard and is commonly used in TCPA cases); Gergetz v. Telenav, Inc., No. 16-CV-04261-BLF, 2018 WL 4691169, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 27, 2018) (finding notice plan administered by Azari compatible with due process). Intero also objects to the reverse lookup process in general, arguing both that it will not identify a large enough percentage of class members and that it will result in a “shotgun blast approach” that is impermissibly overbroad. Opp’n 5-8. The Court finds this argument speculative and not related to the applicable legal standard. Notice does not have to be perfect—it must be “the best notice that is practicable under the circumstances, including individual notice to all members who can be identified through reasonable effort.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(c)(2)(B). As stated previously, the reverse lookup process has been recognized in this Circuit as the industry standard for TCPA cases. Knapper, 329 F.R.D. at 245. Additionally, any issue about identifying who is entitled to recover is handled at the claims administration stage of the case. Briseno v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., 844 F.3d 1121, 1132 (9th Cir. 2017) (“[t]he due process question is not whether the identity of class members can be ascertained with perfect accuracy at the certification stage but whether the defendant will receive a fair opportunity to present its defenses when putative class members actually come forward.”) (internal citation omitted). The cases Intero cites to support its proposition that the notice plan must be rejected because it is overly [*10] broad are not analogous to the case at hand. Yeoman v. Ikea U.S. W., Inc., No. 11cv701 WQH (BGS), 2013 WL 5944245, at *4-*5 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 5, 2013) (rejecting proposal for email notice to all Ikea’s customers for whom Ikea has email information, including approximately 1 million addresses obtained before the class period); Thomas v. Baca, No. CV 04-08448 DDP SHX, 2012 WL 994090, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 22, 2012) (decertifying class because no records existed to identify up to two million potential class members); In re “Agent Orange” Product Liab. Litig., 818 F.2d 145, 169 (2d Cir.1987) (rejecting argument that individual mail notice should have been provided to all 2.4 million Vietnam Veterans, when far fewer than that number were exposed to Agent Orange and thus notice would have been considerably overbroad). In those cases, courts found no way to link individuals who would potentially receive notice and the individuals who are members of the class. For instance, in Yeoman, the court found “no link between individuals who may have provided their email addresses at some point between February 10, 2010 and February 28, 2011, and individuals who are members of the class.” Yeoman, 2013 WL 5944245, at *6. Here, no such problem exists — the email addresses that will receive notice are linked to phone numbers allegedly called by Intero during the relevant class period. And courts have found that, should the subscriber of a group calling plan who receives notice differ from the person that received the call at issue, “subscribers are typically in the best position possible to identify the phone’s ‘user,’ if it is not the subscriber.” Knapper, 329 F.R.D. at 245. Finally, Intero asks the Court to require that Chinitz track which emails are never opened and subsequently mail a postcard to those individuals. Opp’n 8-9. Chinitz opposes this additional requirement on the basis that this holds email notice to a higher standard than mail notice, and the Ninth Circuit has made it clear that the “best practicable” notice requirement does not require that class members actually view a notice, see Silber v. Mabon, 18 F.3d 1449, 1454 (9th Cir. 1994). Reply 11-12. The Court agrees with Chinitz’s reading of Silber, where the Ninth Circuit drew a distinction between the traditional standard for class notice, “best practicable,” and “actually received” notice, the standard the Ninth Circuit rejected. Silber, 18 F.3d at 1454. The Court will not require Chinitz to track whether the emails are actually opened. Accordingly, the Court approves of Chinitz’s direct notice plan.