1 Hot Topics in TCPA Litigation Materials prepared 6/26/2013
2 Joann Needleman Admitted: PA, NJ Law & Politics Magazine Top 50 Female Lawyers in Pennsylvania President Elect, National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys Panelist in the FTC CFPB S Life of a Debt Roundtable held June 2013 in Washington.
3 Don Maurice Admitted: DC, NY, NJ Don is peer rated AV by Martindale Hubbell, the worldwide guide to lawyers. He has been recognized by Law & Politics Magazine as a New Jersey Super Lawyer in Bankruptcy & Debtor/Creditor Law and as a Corporate Counsel Super Lawyer. His firm has been named a Go to Law Firm for the Top 500 Companies, and a Go to Financial Law Firm by Corporate Counsel Magazine/ALM Publications
4 This information is not intended to be legal advice and may not be used as legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. Every effort has been made to assure this information is up to date. It is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of the law in any area, however, nor should it be used to replace the advice of your own legal counsel.
5 Background on The Telephone Consumer Protection Act The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 ( TCPA ), 47 U.S.C. 227
6 Our Focus Today Is on the prohibition on making any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with the prior express consent of the called party) using any automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice to any telephone number assigned to a paging service, cellular telephone service, specialized mobile radio service, or other radio common carrier service, or any service for which the called party is charged for the call; TCPA, 47 U.S.C. 227(b)(1)(A)(iii)
7 Our Focus Today Informational Calls debt collection Telemarketing Calls sale of a product or service
8 Hot Topic 1 ATDS [E]quipment which has the capacity (A) to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and (B) to dial such numbers. TCPA, 47 U.S.C. 227(a)(1)
9 Hot Topic 1 ATDS Generally The Ninth Circuit has said "[a] system need not actually store, produce, or call randomly or sequentially generated telephone numbers, it need only have the capacity to do it." Satterfield v. Simon & Schuster, Inc., 569 F.3d 946, 951 (9th Cir. 2009). The court left the issue of defining capacity to dial to the District Court on remand. The matter settled and the District Court did not reach the issue.
10 Hot Topic 1 ATDS Predictive Dialer Predictive Dialers can be an ATDS because they have the capacity to dial [telephone] numbers without human intervention FCC Declaratory Ruling, at 13. Meyer v. Portfolio Recovery Assocs., LLC, 707 F.3d 1036, 1043 (9th Cir. 2012) Soppet v. Enhanced Recovery Co., LLC, 679 F.3d 637 (7th Cir. 2012)
11 Hot Topic 1 ATDS Predictive Dialer It could not be more clear that any predictive dialer must have the required capacity (even if unused) set out in the statute to qualify as an ATDS. In Re: Midland Credit Management, Inc., Telephone Consumer Protection Act Litigation, No. :11 md MMA MDD (S.D. Cal. Jan. 4, 2013)
12 Hot Topic 1 ATDS Predictive Dialer FCC Action Because FCC found that predictive dialers are an ATDS, defendants cannot challenge that ruling in a federal district court. Instead they must petition the FCC for reconsideration. Griffith v. Consumer Portfolio Serv., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91231, **9 11 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 16, 2011).
13 Hot Topic 1 ATDS Generally GroupMe Petition Seeks a ruling that the term capacity under section 227(a)(1) of the TCPA refers only to equipment that, at the time of use, could, in fact, have employed the functionality described in the TCPA without human intervention and without first being technologically altered.
14 Hot Topic 1 ATDS Predictive Dialer Communication Innovators Petition whether predictive dialers that lack the statutorily required ability to store, produce, and dial random or sequential numbers are automatic telephone dialing systems ( autodialers ) under the TCPA. met with FCC on June 7, 2013 These non telemarketing calls must be made to wireless telephone numbers in order to reach increasingly large segments of the population. CI s Notice of Ex Parte Presentation June 11, 2013
15 Hot Topic 1 ATDS Predictive Dialer Professional Association for Customer Engagement Petition July 11, 2012 Requests that the FCC to rule that a predictive dialer only constitutes an ATDS if it has the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called using a random or sequential number generator and to provide a definition for random or sequential number generator.
16 Hot Topic 1 ATDS Preview Dialer Nelson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (W.D. Wis. Mar. 8, 2013) opinion vacated June 7, 2013 Regardless whether preview dialing falls outside the scope of 227(a)(1) and the FCC's order, I agree with plaintiff that defendant's argument is another red herring. Under both the statute and the order, the question is not how the defendant made a particular call, but whether the system it used had the "capacity" to make automated calls.
17 Hot Topic 2 Prior Express Consent Debt Collection Residential telephone lines exempt Cellphones must have prior express consent for ATDS or prerecorded message In re Rules & Regulations Implementing the Tel. CPA of 1991, 27 FCC Rcd 1830 (F.C.C. 2012) FCC Declaratory Ruling, , 23 F.C.C.R. 559, 11 (Adopted Dec. 28, 2007, Released Jan. 2008) (the 2008 FCC Declaratory Ruling ).
18 Hot Topic 2 Prior Express Consent Pursuant to the FCC ruling [23 FCC Rcd. 559, 565 (Jan. 4, 2008)], prior express consent is consent to call a particular telephone number in connection with a particular debt that is given before the call in question is placed. Meyer v. Portfolio Recovery Assocs., LLC, 707 F.3d 1036, 1042 (9th Cir. 2012) Providing a cellphone number is not enough Mais v. Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (S.D. Fla. May 8, 2013)
19 Hot Topic 2 Prior Express Consent Knowingly providing cellphone number to entity initiating the call/text Saunders v. NCO Fin. Sys., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 19, 2012) Balthazor v. Cent. Credit Servs., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (S.D. Fla. Dec. 27, 2012) Nigro v. Mercantile Adjustment Bureau, LLC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 11, 2013) Roberts v. Paypal, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (N.D. Cal. May 30, 2013) O'Connor v. Diversified Consultants, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (E.D. Mo. May 28, 2013)
20 Hot Topic 2 Prior Express Consent Knowingly providing cellphone number to entity initiating the call/text is not sufficient Mais v. Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (S.D. Fla. May 8, 2013) Lusskin v. Seminole Comedy, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (S.D. Fla. June 19, 2013) (same Judge as in Mais) Leckler v. Cashcall, Inc., 554 F. Supp. 2d 1025 (N.D. Cal. 2008) vacated at 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2008)
21 Hot Topic 2 Prior Express Consent Knowingly providing cellphone number to entity initiating the call/text is not sufficient Mais v. Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (S.D. Fla. May 8, 2013) Lusskin v. Seminole Comedy, Inc., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (S.D. Fla. June 19, 2013) (same Judge as in Mais) Leckler v. Cashcall, Inc., 554 F. Supp. 2d 1025 (N.D. Cal. 2008) vacated at 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2008)
22 Hot Topic 2 Prior Express Consent We encourage creditors to include language on credit applications and other documents informing the consumer that, by providing a wireless telephone number, the consumer consents to receiving autodialed and prerecorded message calls from the creditor or its third party debt collector at that number FCC Declaratory Ruling, 23 FCC Rcd 559, 565 (F.C.C. 2007) n37
23 Hot Topic 2 Prior Express Consent Revocation Gager v. Dell Financial Services, LLC, No. 3:11 CV 2115, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73752, 2012 WL (W.D. Pa. May 29, 2012); Saunders v. NCO Fin. Sys., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 19, 2012).
24 Hot Topic 2 Prior Express Consent Wrong Number Soppet v. Enhanced Recovery Co., LLC, 679 F.3d 637 (7th Cir. Ill. 2012)
25 Hot Topic 3 Vicarious Liability Strictly Liable Martin v. Cellco P'ship, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS , at **4 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 18, 2012) citing Soppet v. Enhanced Recovery Co., LLC, 679 F.3d 637, 642 (7th Cir. 2012) (in dicta) Jamison v. First Credit Servs., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (N.D. Ill. Mar. 28, 2013)
26 Hot Topic 3 Vicarious Liability Agency Principles Applied Versteeg v. Bennett, DeLoney & Noyes, P.C., 775 F. Supp. 2d 1316, 1321 (D. Wyo. 2011)(corporate officer personally liable because he was directly involved in the process). Thomas v. Taco Bell Corp., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS , at **11 12 (C.D. Cal. June 25, 2012). In re DISH Network, LLC, 2013 FCC LEXIS 2057 (F.C.C. May 9, 2013)(while addressing facts in telemarketing, there is possible application to debt collection calls).
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