So Flo Real Estate Group sued over spam text messages

Ryan Millward alleges the brokerage’s CEO sent him texts directing him to read home buying articles on So Flo Real Estate Group’s website

Maria Penaloza
Maria Penaloza

The owner of a Weston-based brokerage allegedly sent unsolicited spam text messages directing consumers to read home buying articles on her firm’s website, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

It’s the latest case brought by a pair of local attorneys targeting brokers and agents who are allegedly breaking federal law that prohibits abusing mass text messaging for unsolicited advertisements.

In the lawsuit filed in Miami federal court, seeking class action status, Palm Beach County resident Ryan Millward accuses So Flo Real Estate Group of sending him telemarketing messages without his permission in the fall and winter of last year. Millward is represented by Garrett Berg and Scott Edelsberg, both of whom have filed at least three similar complaints on behalf of plaintiffs suing brokerages in Pembroke Pines, Celebration and Naples.

In October, two clients of Berg and Edelsberg settled lawsuits they had filed against Pembroke Pines-based RE/Max Presidential and Celebration-based La Rosa Realty. Terms were not disclosed.

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Edelsberg and Maria E. Penaloza, CEO of So Flo Real Estate Group, declined comment on the latest suit. Berg did not respond to requests for comment.

Millward’s lawsuit alleges that So Flo Real Estate Group violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by using an automated dialing system to send him a telemarketing text message without his prior consent. The complaint contains an alleged screenshot of two texts Millward received from a telephone number registered to Penaloza.

The first message, sent on Oct. 9, reads: “Hi Ryan, I found this article and I want to share it with you. Let me know what you think.” It includes a link to a blog post on So Flo Real Estate Group’s website about obtaining pre-approval for a loan as the first step in buying a home.

The second message, sent on Dec. 11, said: “Hi Ryan, guess what most Americans are saying about home ownership and check out the entire South and Central Florida housing inventory for free at”