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August 31, 2017

Report: Telephone Consumer Protection Act Lawsuits Up Nearly 50 Percent Following FCC Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new report released today by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) shows that lawsuits filed under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) surged following a 2015 declaratory order by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that loosened the standards for filing such suits.

TCPA Litigation Sprawl: A Study of the Sources and Targets of Recent TCPA Lawsuits details that TCPA lawsuits increased from 2,127 to 3,121—or 46 percent—in the 17-month period after the FCC order versus the comparable period before.

“This spike provides concrete evidence that the FCC under the previous administration put more ‘fuel on the fire’ for abusive and costly TCPA lawsuits,” said ILR President Lisa A. Rickard. “Congress should update the TCPA, so that it targets scam telemarketers as intended, and does not ensnare businesses trying to contact their customers for legitimate business purposes.”

The study details how TCPA lawsuits impact nearly 40 different industries and case filings are spreading nationwide. In addition, nearly one-third of the 3,121 cases filed are federal class actions.

The study also highlights a pending case at the D.C. Circuit Court and examines whether the FCC under the previous administration exceeded its authority in issuing the 2015 declaratory order. It recommends, regardless of the ruling, that Congress update the TCPA and also pass the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017, a bill that has passed the House, which would begin to address broader problems with class action lawsuits.

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the global, national, state, and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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