U.S. District Court Judge John C. Coughenour has granted class action status to a lawsuit against Papa John's International for sending unwanted text messages to customers.

"The plaintiffs, three people from Washington State, are standing in for thousands of customers claiming that Papa John's and a marketing firm called OnTime4U worked together to send spam texts to customers who hadn't given their consent to be texted with marketing information, violating the U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991," writes Ars Technica's Megan Geuss.

"The plaintiffs allege that Papa John's franchises sent customers a total of 500,000 unwanted messages in early 2010," writes CNNMoney's Olivia Smith. "The spam texts offered deals for pizza, and some customers complained they were getting 15 or 16 texts in a row, even during the middle of the night, according Donald Heyrich, an attorney representing the class."


"Many customers complained to Papa John's that they wanted the text messages to stop, and yet thousands of spam text messages were sent week after week," Heyrich said in a statement. "This should be a wakeup call to advertisers. Consumers do not want spam on their cell phones. If you do not have permission from your customers, do not send them text messages. It's as simple as that."

"If the court finds that Papa John's violated the U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the pizza maker could have to pay damages of $500 per text message, or $250 million, one of the largest damage awards under the 1991 law, the law firm said," writes Computerworld's Grant Gross.