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Showing 11 posts in FCC.

SCOTUS Narrows Autodialer Definition under the TCPA

We analyze in this client advisory the recent decision by a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court to narrow the definition of what constitutes an automatic telephone dialing system, or autodialer. Our analysis includes a take on the potential impacts of the decision, as well as the significance of a Democratic Party-controlled FCC. We note that the TCPA has not gone away and callers should continue to carefully consider how best to comply with its provisions to avoid further litigation and regulatory risk.

SCOTUS Decides Federal Debt is not Exempted from TCPA, While FCC Autodialer Declaration Further Alters TCPA Landscape

With a major U.S. Supreme Court decision leading the way, recent developments continue to reshape the landscape of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). More ›

FCC Clarifies Autodialer Definition, Including in Bulk Text Message Context

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued a Declaratory Ruling clarifying the definition of an autodialer. Exactly what constitutes an autodialer under the TCPA has been a burgeoning topic in consumer litigation. The TCPA prohibits any person from texting or calling a cellular telephone number using an automatic dialing system (“autodialer” or “ATDS”) without prior express consent. The TCPA defines an ATDS as equipment which has the capacity to (A) to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (B) to dial such numbers. More ›

La Boom! Second Circuit Detonates Expanding Circuit Split over Auto-Dialer Definition Under TCPA

Hinshaw continues to monitor the deepening circuit split over what constitutes an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which restricts certain automated calls and text messages. To say there has been substantial debate by the courts and FCC concerning what constitutes an ATDS would be putting it lightly. And, just when it seemed a majority position was emerging, the playing field seems to have leveled with the Second Circuit's decision in Duran v. La Boom Disco, Inc. More ›

U.S. Supreme Court Balks on Judicial Deference to FCC in TCPA Case, While Concurrence Led by Justice Kavanaugh Looks to Swing

TCPA litigators have been closely monitoring the U.S. Supreme Court's docket waiting for a ruling in the PDR Network case. At stake is what kind of judicial deference should be given to the FCC's interpretation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Specifically, the Court was set to decide whether the Hobbs Act required the District Court to accept the FCC's legal interpretation of the TCPA. Numerous decisions at both the District Court and Circuit levels have held that trial courts have no discretion to review an FCC order interpreting the TCPA, meaning that courts must provide these orders complete deference. More ›

FCC’s Robocall Ruling Raises Industry Concerns of Erroneous Blocking of Their Lawful Calls

While most Americans might breathe a sigh of relief upon learning of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) June 6, 2019 5-0 bipartisan vote authorizing phone companies to automatically identify and block unwanted robocalls, shielding us from those annoying voices describing the expiration of our car’s warranty, spoof numbers claiming fake tax bills, and the like, various trade groups have voiced concerns including the American Bankers Association, the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, the Credit Union National Association, the National Retail Federation, and the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. Chief among concerns for these groups is that the call blocking may not distinguish illegal telemarketing and scams from legitimate calls placed once a subscriber consents, as well as a lack of clear redress for any erroneous blocking. More ›

"Estoppel on Steroids" ‒ Does the Hobbs Act Require the District Court to Accept the FCC's Rule Interpreting an "Unsolicited Advertisement" under the TCPA?

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument on appeal from the Fourth Circuit's decision issued in PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc. The issue is whether a district court must accept the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) rule interpreting an "unsolicited advertisement" under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The district court held that PDR Network, LLC did not violate the TCPA when it faxed an unsolicited advertisement to Carlton & Harris Chiropractic for a free Physicians' Desk Reference. In doing so, the district court declined to apply the FCC's 2006 rule that interpreted an unsolicited advertisement under the TCPA to include fax messages that promote goods or services at no cost. On appeal, however, the Fourth Circuit reversed concluding that the district court should have applied the FCC's rule because the Hobbs Act, which establishes judicial review for final orders of certain federal agencies, requires a party to first challenge an agency rule with the respective agency before challenging the rule in court. The Supreme Court is left to decide whether the district court has authority to hear PDR's challenge to the FCC's rule in its defense of this TCPA lawsuit without any prior agency challenge. More ›

ACA International Continues Setting Precedent Regarding Autodialers: Second and Third Circuits Follow Suit in Adopting a Narrowed Definition

The Second Circuit, in King v. Time Warner Cable, Inc., and the Third Circuit, in Dominguez v. Yahoo!, Inc., relied upon the D.C. Circuit's decision in ACA International v. FCC in limiting the definition of an autodialer under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Dominguez found that Yahoo's text message system did not fit the definition of autodialer, while King emphasized that only a device that currently has the ability to perform autodialing functions can qualify as an autodialer system. More ›

Distilling the DC Circuit's TCPA Decision in ACA International v. FCC

In a case we have been tracking closely, a unanimous panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals set aside two key determinations of the FCC's interpretations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. In ACA International, et al. v. FCC, Judge Sri Srinivasan found that the FCC's "explanation of what qualifies" as an automated telephone dialer service (ATDS) and its one-call safe harbor for calling a phone number that has been reassigned to a non-consenting person was arbitrary and capricious. However, the Court sustained the FCC's rulings on revocation of consent "through any reasonable means clearly expressing a desire to receive no further messages" and the scope of the exemption for "time-sensitive healthcare calls." More ›

Second Circuit Says No to Unilateral Revocation of TCPA Consent to Contact, Citing Contract Principles

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has split with the Third Circuit, the Eleventh Circuit, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and utilized contract principles to hold that a consumer may not necessarily have the ability to unilaterally revoke consent to contact under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The decision shifts the focus of a TCPA claim from simply deciding whether the consumer revoked consent to whether consent to contact could be revoked by contract standards. More ›

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