Whopper of a Lawsuit: Woman Wants Burger King to Pay for Text Messages

Who says teenage stalkers and demanding bosses send the most irksome text messages? Not Elizabeth Espinal.

The New Yorker recently sued Miami-Dade's mammoth supplier of most things fast and greasy, Burger King, claiming the company acted like an ex-boyfriend who couldn't take a hint: It repeatedly text-messaged her -- with spam ads -- although she told it to get lost.

Espinal's contention: Burger King "caused actual harm" by harassing her with the "cryptic" messages, according the lawsuit. Espinal was "subjected to aggravation" and made to pay for receiving them. Now she is seeking -- get this -- $5 million in relief.

God bless the American legal system.

In April 2008, Espinal's phone beeped. The text was labeled "99143 " instead of showing a return number, and the sender seemed, well, kind of bossy. "Kick it up a notch with a loaded steakhouse burger," it read. "Try one today at BK."

She immediately wrote back, "Stop." But two months later, Espinal received an identical message, and in August 2008, she received a third. "Stop by BK for a refreshing Mocha BK Joe Iced Coffee," it read this time. "A perfect mix of rich coffee and chocolate syrup."

Frustrated, she filed a federal lawsuit in April 2009, alleging Burger King violated Section 47 of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, "which prohibits unsolicited voice and text calls to cellular phones." Corporate spokespeople, Espinal, and her lawyers declined to comment.

The case is still open. She filed it as a class action, but it hasn't been certified yet. We're guessing other text recipients just sighed and then paid the bill with pennies from the couch.

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Natalie O'Neill
Contact: Natalie O'Neill