On July 10, the Federal Communications Commission issued an omnibus order laying out its interpretation of numerous provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The reach and expanse of this Order promises to change the landscape of TCPA litigation for years to come. As a general matter, the FCC took a broad view of the kinds of calls and texts subject to the TCPA, and a demanding view of the steps calling parties need to take to comply with the TCPA. As a result, many businesses have challenged the FCC’s Order in the D.C. Circuit. In light of these challenges, on August 19, Sirius XM Radio, Inc. moved to stay a purported TCPA class action in the Eastern District of Virginia pending the outcome of the challenges to the FCC’s Order. On September 25, the District Court denied the request.
According to the Court in Hooker v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc., Sirius argued the Court should stay the case pending the resolution of the FCC’s Order because the “case would be a ‘waste of time’ if the D.C. Circuit rules on the relevant issues and rules in favor of Defendant.” Sirius also argued, according to the Court, the doctrine of primary jurisdiction requires the Court to await the outcome of court decisions ruling on the challenges to the FCC’s TCPA interpretations. The Court rejected these arguments.
Among other reasons, the Court concluded “judicial economy” does not favor a stay because the defendant did not demonstrate “hardship and equity,” as there is no evidence the D.C. Circuit will issue a ruling that “sufficiently addresses the specific issue relevant in [the] case” and there is no indication any ruling from the D.C. Circuit would apply retroactively. The Court also held that the appeal could take a “significant amount of time,” which would prejudice the plaintiff.
Troutman Sanders LLP has unique industry-leading expertise with the TCPA, with experience gained trying TCPA cases to verdict and advising Fortune 50 companies regarding their compliance strategies. We will continue to monitor cases pertaining to the FCC’s Order, and will identify and advise on potential risks.