Consumer Financial Services Legal Update Blog

ACA International v. FCC Aftermath: 28 Days Later

In ACA Int’l v. FCC, No. 15-211, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 6535 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 16, 2018) the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned the FCC’s “expansive” interpretation of what constitutes an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 et seq. For an overview of key takeaways from the ruling, please see...

Back to Basics: What is an “ATDS,” Really?

Following the D.C. Circuit’s opinion in ACA Int’l v. FCC, No. 15-1211, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 6535 at *9 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 16, 2018), members of the Bar on all sides have found themselves potentially living in a throwback era. This is particularly true with respect to what may or may not qualify as an automatic telephone dialing system, or “ATDS,” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 et seq.

CFPB Publishes Semiannual Report to Congress: Dorsey Partner Quoted in American Banker Article, “It ‘Would Stab a Knife’ into CFPB: Critics React to Mulvaney Proposal”

American Banker quoted Dorsey & Whitney partner Jenny Lee in an article reporting on the legal community’s response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s latest semiannual report to Congress. Lee noted that the report’s focus on “credit invisibles” (consumers who have little or no access to credit) and their overlap with users of payday and installment loans suggests that the Bureau will seek to facilitate access to credit going forward.

CFPB Issues FAQs on Mortgage Servicing Rules on the Eve of Compliance Deadline

With less than one month remaining until the April 19, 2018 effective date of bankruptcy-related amendments to Regulation X and Regulation Z, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued “Mortgage Servicing FAQs” to address several questions it has received regarding the new bankruptcy statement requirements. Specifically, the FAQs provide some clarification regarding periodic statements, coupon books, reaffirmation, successors in interest, and the effective date.

D.C. Circuit Shuts Down Rite Aid’s Challenge to Expand Healthcare Exemptions under the TCPA and HIPAA

On March 16, 2018, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a groundbreaking decision in ACA Int’l v. FCC, No. 15-1211, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 6535 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 16, 2018) that raises a number of questions regarding the future of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The ACA Int’l decision, however, left certain healthcare communications intact while establishing the test in which a party is an “aggrieved party” for purposes of challenging orders issued by the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”). This article provides a brief overview of the TCPA regulatory landscape and examines the implications of the ACA Int’l decision for the healthcare industry.

District Court Holds Consumer May Sue U.S. Governmental Entity for Money Damages under FCRA

On February 7, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan denied a motion by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the USDA seeking money damages for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). In moving to dismiss, the USDA argued that the FCRA claim was barred by federal sovereign immunity. However, the court rejected that argument, holding that the U.S. Government had waived its sovereign immunity from actions seeking monetary relief for FCRA violations. As a result, the court held, it had subject matter jurisdiction over the FCRA claim. See Jones v. United States Dep’t of Agric., No. 17-11530, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19886 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 7, 2018).

Autodialer Junction, What’s Your Function? D.C. Circuit Reverses FCC’s Internally Inconsistent Interpretations of ATDS Functionality

The D.C. Circuit’s reversal of the FCC’s pronouncements as to “the precise functions that a device must have capacity to perform for it to be considered an ATDS,” will likely prove to be the most consequential aspect of the court’s opinion in the ACA International appeal. ACA Int’l v. FCC, No. 15-1211, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 6535 at *9 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 16, 2018) (“ACA Int’l”). The decision gives the FCC a blank slate to take a fresh look at this issue, and there is potential for big changes on the horizon.

D.C. Circuit Holds that FCC’s Interpretation of the Term “Capacity” is Invalid Because It Makes Nearly Every American a “TCPA-Violator-in-Waiting”

The D.C. Circuit has rejected the FCC’s “impermissibly expansive” interpretation of what constitutes an Automatic Telephone Dialing System (“ATDS”) under the TCPA. ACA Int’l v. FCC, No. 15-1211, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 6535 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 16, 2018) (“ACA Ruling”). Under Congress’s two-pronged definition of the term, an ATDS is equipment that: (1) “has the capacity”; (2) to function as an autodialer (i.e. “store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator”). The ACA Ruling addresses the ATDS definition in two parts – first analyzing the meaning of the word “capacity” and then analyzing the functionalities required of an ATDS. This article will focus on the first of these two pieces of analysis – the meaning of the term “capacity.”

Federal Court Orders Loan Servicer to Comply with CFPB’s CID Investigating Potential UDAAP and FCRA Violations

On February 28, 2018, a Pennsylvania federal district court granted a petition by the CFPB to enforce a CID against a student loan servicer to investigate potential Unfair, Deceptive or Abusive Acts or Practices or violations of FCRA in CFPB v. Heartland Campus Solutions, ECSI. The court applied the Supreme Court’s Morton Salt test applicable to investigative demands, and ruled in the CFPB’s favor, marking a court victory for the Mulvaney-led CFPB in investigative efforts to enforce a CID against the loan servicer.

D.C. Circuit Dooms “Idiosyncratic” or “Imaginative” TCPA Revocation Efforts While Blessing Contractual Revocation Provisions in Upholding FCC’s Revocation Approach

Nearly a year-and-a-half after oral argument on the ACA International v. FCC petition for review of the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 Omnibus Order, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its long-anticipated opinion last Friday, March 16th, in a 51-page decision authored by Judge Srinivasan. This article focuses on the D.C. Circuit’s handling of the issue of revocation of consent and its further implications for contracting parties addressing the same.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Sets Aside FCC’s Definition of “Called Party” Under the TCPA—What Comes Next?

The TCPA makes it unlawful to make autodialed calls without the prior express consent of the “called party.” The statute does not define the term “called party,” leaving parties on both sides of the aisle scratching their collective heads as to what person or persons fall within this category. The definition of “called party” is particularly important because prior express consent of the called party is a complete defense to the TCPA. Thus, identifying the “called party” is a crucial component to any TCPA compliance regime and/or lawsuit. Unsurprisingly, this was one of the principal issues addressed by the D.C. Circuit in its recent blockbuster ACA Int’l v. FCC decision, with important implications for future litigants.

Your Definitive Guide to the ACA Int’l Ruling: The Top 10 Things Every TCPAlander Needs to Know Now

It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! At last, I no longer need to field the question of “When, oh when, is the D.C. Circuit going to rule on the ACA Int’l appeal of the FCC’s TCPA Omnibus ruling from 2015?” Now we know the answer: right in the middle of March Madness, of course. Forced, as I am, to look up from the basketball games, I now must face the biggest TCPA questions of all: What is the current state of the law respecting predictive dialers? Can we use contractual revocation provisions to full effect? Who is the called party? Is the TCPA constitutional? This is my definitive take on these and other TCPA issues arising from the big D.C. Circuit ruling of ACA Int’l v FCC, No. 15-1211, Doc. No. 1722606 (D.C. Cir. Mar. 16, 2018).

District Court Overrules Magistrate’s Order Compelling Prior Complaint Information and Related Data in TCPA Class Action

Quicken Loans scored a victory earlier this week when Judge Steven D. Merryday sustained its objection to a magistrate judge’s order compelling production of every shred of documentation in any form about every do-not-call request that Quicken received. See Nece v. Quicken Loans, Inc., No. 8:16-cv-2605-T-23CPT, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31346 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 27, 2018).