Though the TCPA is a federal statute, until recently, a split of authority existed as to whether federal district courts could exercise original federal question jurisdiction over TCPA claims. This was due to the fact that the Act contains distinct provisions governing civil actions brought by private parties, and state attorneys general. On the one hand, the TCPA allows private parties to bring TCPA claims in an appropriate court of a state if otherwise permitted by the laws or rules of that state. States attorney generals on the other hand are limited to bringing TCPA claims in federal court. Stated similarly: the TCPA “presents an unusual constellation of statutory features.” It recognizes “the express creation of a private right of action, [and] an express jurisdictional grant to state courts to entertain them,” while remaining “silen[t] as to federal court jurisdiction over private actions.”
However, on January 18, 2012, , the United States Supreme Court released its decision in Mims v. Arrow Financial Services, LLC, 132 S.Ct. 740 (2012), resolving the split of authority, and unanimously holding that the TCPA provides U.S. District Courts with federal question jurisdiction over private party TCPA claims. Thus, an important immediate consideration upon receipt of a complaint containing a TCPA claim should be the removal of the proceeding to federal court.
For more information on TCPA regulation and effects, contact Burr & Forman attorney, Josh Threadcraft, here.