On May 5, 2018, a broad range of 18 industry groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, including ACA International and members of the financial services industry, petitioned the FCC to seek clarity on the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system in light of the D.C. Circuit’s March 16, 2018 decision in ACA Int’l. v. FCC, which vacated the FCC’s prior ATDS interpretation as unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious.
Consumer Financial Services Legal Update Blog
While the D.C. Circuit and the FCC have been in the limelight over the past few years for the regulation of automated calls, Capitol Hill is now abuzz with its own efforts to answer the clarion call of consumer complaints over the issue. Democrats in both the Senate and the House have decided to throw their hats in the ring by introducing legislation seeking to enhance protections for consumers besieged by the purported ongoing epidemic of “robocalls.”
As we reported last month, on the heels of the D.C. Circuit’s ruling in ACA Int’l v. FCC, the D.C. Circuit has created a tabula rasa for the FCC’s treatment of reassigned numbers under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The FCC now seeks to clarify the interplay between that decision and the Commission’s ongoing efforts to establish one or more reassigned number databases.
Dorsey Partner Quoted in Bloomberg BNA Article, “Trump CFPB Seen as Shifting to By-the-Book Supervision”
Dorsey partner Jenny Lee was quoted today in a Bloomberg BNA article examining the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s evolving approach to supervision under acting Director Mick Mulvaney.
Last week, Democrat Mignon L. Clyburn announced that she will be stepping down from her position as a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission before its next scheduled meeting on May 10. Commissioner Clyburn was first nominated to serve on the FCC by President Barack Obama in August 2009, and she completed her second term with the agency last summer. President Donald Trump and the Senate will be responsible for filling her seat with a Democratic appointee to restore the 3-2 Republican-Democratic split and thereby keep with the custom that three of the FCC’s five commissioners be affiliated with the party of the President.
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...
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.
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.
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.”