Western District Joins Courts Strictly Enforcing Telephone Consumer Protection Act

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In American Copper & Brass Inc. v. Lake City Industrial Products Inc., the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan joined numerous other federal courts, holding that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA"), which prohibits sending unsolicited faxes to another person, is "essentially a strict liability statute which imposes liability upon senders of unsolicited faxes."  Judge Quist rejected the defendants' argument that the plaintiff had to prove that the fax was actually received and printed by the plaintiff in order to be a violation of the TCPA.  Judge Quist also rejected the defendants' argument that only faxes sent by a conventional stand-alone telephone facsimile are covered by the TCPA, holding that the TCPA should be interpreted broadly "to ensure that the prohibition on unsolicited faxing not be circumvented."

The court also rejected the defendants' argument that summary judgment should be denied because judgment in the class-action case was likely to bankruptcy the defendants, noting that although the fact that the lawsuit may force the defendants into bankruptcy is a relevant factor for consideration of a petition to appeal, "for purposes of liability at the summary judgment stage, the Court will not consider defendants' ability to pay a judgment."