We’ve been closely watching the evolution of telemarketing laws since the Supreme Court’s 2021 decision in Facebook v. Duguid, which held that most modern dialing systems are not autodialers—or “automated telephone dialing systems” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The Facebook decision led to a flurry of legislative activity at both the state and federal levels. Florida and Oklahoma enacted state-level statutes that have been interpreted to cover modern dialing systems, and Georgia, Washington, Michigan and other states have considered similar legislation. At the federal level, a new bill was proposed in July 2022 that would have amended the TCPA to cover 21st century dialing technologies—not just those using a random or sequential number generator. The federal bill has not made any meaningful progress, but a recent request from FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel may prompt the legislature to act.
Telephone Consumer Protection Act
Newly-Proposed TCPA Amendment Could Lead to Expansive Coverage
Last week, a group of U.S. House of Representatives Democrats introduced the RoboText Scam Prevention Act (“RSPA”). If passed, the bill would amend the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). As predicted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Facebook v. Duguid, the RSPA is Congress’s attempt to clarify the TCPA by proposing modernizations that would address 21st century dialing technologies that were not in place when the law was first passed, but the bill’s broad definitions could create more confusion than clarity if it is passed without further changes.…
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The TCPA, State Analogues, and the Future of Telemarketing Litigation
It has been eight months since the Supreme Court of the United States decided, in Facebook v. Duguid, that the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) outdated definition of an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS or autodialer) did not cover devices—like most modern phones—which can store numbers that are not randomized. This decision resolved a long-standing circuit split over how to interpret the TCPA, but it has not led to the clarity that many companies desired.
While courts have started applying the narrowed ATDS definition under Duguid, companies engaged in telemarketing are not yet in the clear as many had initially thought in the immediate aftermath of Duguid. A number of trends have emerged that give new teeth to TCPA-like claims, including a spike in cases at the state level, novel legal theories, and a focus on other aspects of the TCPA. Moving into 2022, we expect a continued evolution in complaints brought under state telemarketing laws, and we might also see legislation or FCC guidance intended to update the TCPA so that it applies to modern dialing technologies.…
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