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ACA International v. FCC
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
885 F.3d 687 (2018)
Congress enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) to reduce the volume of telemarketing calls received by consumers. The TCPA generally prohibited companies from using automatic telephone-dialing systems to make telemarketing calls without consent from consumers. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was tasked with promulgating regulations to enforce the TCPA. In 2015 the FCC issued an order (the order) clarifying the TCPA’s general prohibition on automatic telephone-dialing systems. In the order, the FCC: (1) defined automatic telephone-dialing systems as equipment with the potential capacity to dial randomly generated telephone numbers; (2) created a one-call safe harbor for callers, explaining that callers did not violate the TCPA if they made one telemarketing call to a phone number whose previous owner had consented to such calls but that had been reassigned to a new owner who had not consented to such calls, but that further calls did violate the TCPA; (3) clarified that a telephone-number owner could revoke her consent to telemarketing calls through any reasonable means, including in writing or orally; and (4) exempted callers from the consent requirements if there was a healthcare-treatment purpose for the call. A group of regulated companies (the companies) (defendants) challenged the FCC’s order, arguing that the four decisions were arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA)
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Srinivasan, J.)
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