Supreme Court Opens the Federal Court Doors to TCPA Claims

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Today, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion regarding the proper forum for cases arising under the increasingly popular Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227. Before today, the majority of circuits considering the issue had found that private actions brought under the TCPA could be brought only in state court. In Mims v. Arrow Financial Services, LLC, 565 U.S. ____ (2012), the Supreme Court resolved the circuit split and held that state and federal courts have concurrent jurisdiction over private actions brought under the TCPA. Defendants now have expanded opportunities to remove TCPA claims to federal court.

In enacting the TCPA, Congress sought to protect the public from certain telemarketing activities. Focusing on the TCPA’s provisions for consumers, the Act generally prohibits, among other things, automatically-dialed calls or artificial or prerecorded messages to cell phones without the prior express consent of the called party. 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(A). The Act also generally prohibits using artificial or prerecorded voice messages to call residential phone lines without prior express consent and sending unsolicited advertisements to fax machines. Id. §§ 227(b)(1)(B), 227(b)(1)(C). With the expansion of marketing and debt collection efforts through calls and text messages to consumers, plaintiffs have seized on the TCPA as their claim of choice to leverage the significant statutory penalties that may be imposed for proven violations of the Act.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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