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Showing 7 posts in FCC.

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 ›

National Pharmacy Avoids TCPA Claim for Flu Shot Robocall under Health Care Rule Exemption

A judge in the Southern District of New York recently held that an automated, pre-recorded message sent on behalf of Rite Aid informing recipients to obtain a flu vaccine shot was exempted from the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), by virtue of the FCC’s Health Care Rule exemption. The exemption permits health care providers to contact customers in order to convey important "health care messages" as defined and covered by HIPAA.

The case, Zani v. Rite Aid Headquarters Corp., 14-cv-9701, involved an automated, pre-recorded message sent on behalf of Rite Aid informing recipients to obtain a flu vaccine shot from their local Rite Aid Pharmacy. In 2013, the putative plaintiff went to his local Rite Aid pharmacy and received a flu shot. He provided Rite Aid with his cell phone number and signed a privacy notice consenting to receiving health related communications by Rite Aid. Roughly a year after receiving his flu shot, he received a voice message reminder to get another flu shot at Rite Aid, as did all previous customers who obtained a flu shot and signed the privacy notice. More ›

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