Consumer lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) have surged following a 2015 declaratory order from the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), which included an expansive interpretation from the FCC of what constitutes an “automatic telephone dialing system” (“ATDS”). The D.C. Circuit’s much-awaited decision in ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission, 885 F.3d 687 (D.C. Cir. 2018) earlier this year set aside much of the FCC’s prior interpretation of what qualifies as an ATDS. ACA International was widely seen as a win for businesses and advertisers, but the decision has done little thus far to stem the tide of TCPA lawsuits, especially as the scope of the decision continues to play out. Continue Reading Businesses Yet to See Major Relief from TCPA Lawsuits Following ACA International Decision
Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding in Reyes v. Lincoln Automotive Financial Services that a customer could not revoke prior express consent for purposes of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) if that consent was provided as consideration in a binding contract. In a ruling that departs from two other circuit decisions, Gager v. Dell Fin. Servs., LLC, 727 F.3d 265 (3d Cir. 2013) and Osorio v. State Farm Bank F.S.B., 746 F.3d 1242 (11th Cir. 2014), the Second Circuit held that bargained-for written consent cannot be unilaterally withdrawn by a consumer.
A year ago, the United States Supreme Court held in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins that a plaintiff must do more than plead a mere statutory procedural violation to establish standing; to plead an injury in fact, a plaintiff also must allege a harm that is both “concrete” and “particularized.” Two recent decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit—one involving a rare written dissent from the denial of a petition for rehearing en banc—demonstrate the continuing difficulties courts are facing in determining what constitutes a concrete injury under Spokeo. They suggest that the Eleventh Circuit is most likely to find standing for violations of statutes that are intended to protect personal privacy or create a right to information, although judges do not always agree as to which statutes fall within these categories. Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Decisions Demonstrate Difficulties in Analyzing Standing Following Spokeo
Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in ACA International v. FCC, the appeal of the Federal Communication Commission’s (“FCC’s”) July 2015 declaratory order interpreting the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). Although scheduled to last 40 minutes, oral argument before the three-judge panel lasted almost three hours. The nature of the judges’ questioning suggests that the D.C. Circuit may soon clarify the TCPA’s restrictions on automated telephone dialing, a result many affected businesses throughout the country would welcome. Continue Reading Appeal of FCC’s TCPA Order May Provide Clarity to Affected Businesses
Consumer class actions are on the minds of virtually all consumer product manufacturers and service providers. Class actions based on privacy and consumer protection statutes are increasing at a remarkable rate, and can be a challenge to predict, budget and defend, given the difficulty in valuing consumer privacy rights. In an article, “Second Circuit Reminds Consumer Product Companies That Insurance Options Exist for Big Data Blunders and Privacy Faux Pas,” published in FC&S Legal’s Eye on the Experts column, Hunton lawyers Syed S. Ahmad, Neil K. Gilman and Paul T. Moura address the growing trend and remind consumer product manufacturers and service providers to look to their insurance policies when they find themselves faced with class action lawsuits in the digital landscape.
As reported on the Hunton Employment Labor and Law Blog, on January 20, 2016, the United States Supreme Court issued its ruling in Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez, No. 14-857 (U.S.), in which a 6-3 majority held that “an unaccepted settlement offer or offer of judgment does not moot a plaintiff’s case,” thus resolving an ongoing split among the Circuits on this issue. While this is seemingly a positive development for the plaintiffs’ bar, the Court expressly left open one critical question that is almost sure to be revisited: whether a defendant can moot a case by tendering—as opposed to simply offering—complete relief to the plaintiff.