April 19, 2018

ILR Counsel: TCPA’s Focus on Technology, Rather Than Conduct, has Led to “Abusive Litigation”

Yesterday, counsel for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform told the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) focus on technology, rather than bad conduct, has led to “abusive litigation” that have “devastating effects” on businesses.

Scott Delacourt, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP, said the TCPA “has become an obstacle, preventing legitimate and lawful communications.” It has placed large and small businesses “in the crosshairs of potential litigation each time they pick up the phone or send a text message.” He said Congress should take up legislation that more realistically defines what is and is not an automated dialer.

Last month, the D.C. Circuit struck down a 2015 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order that broadened the definition of an automated dialer. The court ruled that the definition, which technically labeled every smartphone as an automated dialing system, was “utterly unreasonable.” ILR research found TCPA filings surged 46 percent in the 17 months after the FCC’s order when compared to the 17 months before.

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