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April 18, 2018

ILR to Testify Before Senate Committee Hearing on Robocalls

At perhaps no better time, counsel for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) is testifying before the Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee today on the need to modernize the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Scott Delacourt, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP, is testifying on behalf of ILR at the “Abusive Robocalls and How We Can Stop Them” full committee hearing. This comes just a little over one month since the D.C. Circuit’s ruling struck down parts of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2015 Omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order. Delacourt will discuss the difference between abusive robocallers and businesses trying to contact their consumers. He will also speak about how “abusive litigation” can have “devastating effects” on small and large businesses that try to comply with the law, but still fall into traps set by plaintiffs’ lawyers.

We know that abuse of the TCPA just keeps getting worse as professional plaintiffs and their lawyers find new ways to manufacture claims, such as stockpiling reassigned phone numbers. There are many ways businesses of all sizes can find themselves in lawsuit-manufacturing schemes that cost time and money.

Now that the D.C. Circuit said significant portions of the FCC’s 2015 Ruling are “utterly unreasonable,” it is clear that action is needed by Congress and the FCC. Given the recent attention to the 26-year-old law, this hearing could not come at a better time.

Many “anything-goes” rules remain in place, which keep the law wide open to abuse as entrepreneurial lawyers keep finding new ways to game the system for their own benefit. There are, of course, bad actors. But we need to separate those who unknowingly fall into traps from those who abuse technology.

It’s time for an update. It’s our hope that this hearing is the start of a legislative and regulatory process aimed at modernizing an outdated law.

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