A recent case out of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed its prior decision in Gadelhak v. AT&T Services that only a system with “the capacity to generate random or sequential numbers” qualifies as an ATDS. In Jackson v. Regions Bank, the court rejected Jackson’s arguments to overrule Gadelhak in affirming the district court’s order granting summary judgment for Regions Bank. Despite Facebook v. Duguid pending in the Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit instead told Jackson “to seek relief in the Supreme Court, should the Justices disagree” with the approach taken by the Seventh Circuit.
Jackson alleged Regions Bank contacted him on his cellphone regarding an overdrawn account. In his statement of the claims, Jackson alleged that he revoked his consent to be called on his cell phone, but the bank continued to place calls using an ATDS after revocation of consent. Jackson moved for partial summary judgment, to which the bank responded by asserting that Gadelhak foreclosed his claims under the TCPA, as the bank’s telephony system dialed numbers from a set customer list, rather than a system with “the capacity to generate random or sequential numbers.” The district court agreed with the bank, finding that Gadelhak precluded Jackson’s claims.
On appeal, Jackson argues that the system used by the bank could be differentiated from the one in Gadelhak as no human intervention was required to dial a number. Jackson further relied on a single decision by the Northern District of Alabama to assert that Gadelhak was wrongly decided, as the FCC’s 2003 order should continue to control on the definition of an ATDS. The Seventh Circuit disagreed, as Gadelhak determined that no FCC order bound the court’s interpretation as the D.C. Circuit previously “struck down all Orders interpreting the” TCPA in ACA Int’l v. FCC.
While we all anxiously await the Supreme Court’s decision in Duguid, which is anticipated this term, industry participants can still breathe a sigh of relief for now, as in the Seventh Circuit, Gadelhak remains the law concerning what constitutes an ATDS.