The last two weeks have brought two important (although unrelated) rulings on the TCPA’s Autodialer Restrictions. First, on June 25, the Federal Communications Commission limited the applicability of the autodialer restrictions in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 (the “TCPA”), to an emerging texting technology. Second, less than two weeks later, the Supreme Court ruled that an exception to the TCPA’s autodialer restrictions for calls to collect federal debts was unconstitutional and expanded the statute’s reach.
Creating a circuit split, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has held that receiving a single unwanted text message is not enough to confer standing, even if the text violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The court disagreed with a Ninth Circuit ruling that reached the opposite conclusion in 2017. In so doing, it gave new life to an argument defendants may use to fend off class actions under the TCPA.
On June 20, in PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that had been adverse to the interests of our client, PDR Network. Both the majority and concurring opinions in PDR Network raise interesting issues for lower courts to ponder as they consider how much to defer to agency decision making.
Ever since the D.C. Circuit struck down the FCC’s overbroad rule defining “auto-dialers” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, district courts have debated the scope of the D.C. Circuit’s ruling: Did it effectively strike down earlier FCC pronouncements on what qualifies as an auto-dialer? In a carefully reasoned opinion, a district court judge in Chicago held last week that it did. (more…)
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) bar has been reeling ever since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned a couple of key Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules in ACA International v. FCC, including the FCC’s overbroad interpretation of the definition of an autodialer. However, the ruling still left several key provisions in place that facilitate the potential for significant liability and sow uncertainty for everyday business and compliance operations. Now the commission has issued a public notice seeking input about how it should interpret the TCPA. Comments are due June 13, 2018, with replies due June 28. (more…)
On March 16, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a long-awaited ruling on a challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 order that expanded the scope of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). In ACA International v. FCC, No. 15-1211, the court invalidated a rule that had broadly defined automatic telephone dialing systems, or “auto-dialers”; it also struck down the FCC’s approach to situations where a caller obtains a party’s consent to be called but then, unbeknownst to the caller, the consenting party’s wireless number is reassigned. In the same ruling, the court upheld the FCC’s decision to allow parties who have consented to be called to revoke their consent in “any reasonable way,” as well as the FCC’s decision to limit the scope of an exemption to the TCPA’s consent requirement for certain healthcare-related calls.
An already active TCPA class action bar is sure to become even more active after a significant Declaratory Ruling and Order from the FCC that, among other points, broadened what technologies may be considered autodialers, gave further strength to class actions based on reassigned cell numbers, and muddied the waters for constructing compliance mechanisms to support consumer revocation of consent.
On July 10, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission issued a declaratory ruling to resolve various concerns raised by 21 petitions regarding the Commission’s implementation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which carries a $500 penalty for each call or text in violation.