With the ever-changing case law surrounding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, staying up to date with what cases are relevant and where courts stand on certain, very important definitions, can be an almost impossible task. Further, in the 28 years since the TCPA was enacted, the legislation has been considered outdated by many companies.
As industry groups continue to challenge several aspects of the Federal Communications Commission’s interpretation of the TCPA, courts have also increasingly taken steps to limit the TCPA’s reach. Here, we highlight the top 10 TCPA cases and developments in 2019 that you need to know.
Definition of an Automatic Telephone Dialing System
In recent years, courts nationwide have grappled with the statutory definition of an automatic telephone dialing system, or ATDS, under the TCPA. In 2015, the FCC issued an order that dramatically expanded the definition, but, in response, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2018 struck down that order after determining that the FCC’s definition of an ATDS was arbitrary and capricious.
Essentially, it could be interpreted to include smartphones, thus making “nearly every American … a TCPA-violator-in-waiting, if not a violator-in-fact.”
Gadelhak v. AT&T Services
In April 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois held in Gadelhak v. AT&T Services Inc. that predictive dialing devices that lack the capacity to generate numbers either randomly or sequentially, and instead only dial numbers from a predetermined list, do not meet the statutory definition of ATDS. The plaintiff is seeking reversal of this decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
The outcome of the case will likely have a significant impact, considering the volume of ATDS rulings from the lower courts within the Seventh Circuit.
Read the full article in Law360 here.