On Friday March 16, 2018 the D.C. Circuit issued its long awaited decision on various challenges to the Federal Communication Commissions (FCC) 2015 Omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order (Omnibus Order) on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), based on claims the FCC exceeded its authority and was capricious and arbitrary when issuing its rulings. The decision was a mixed bag, vacating the FCC’s expansive approach to the “capacity” of a device to store or generate and dial numbers in the context of defining an autodialer under the statute, and the FCC’s “one free call” safe harbor for reaching the “called party” at a reassigned telephone number.
On the other hand, it upholds a call recipient’s right to revoke previously granted consent by any reasonable means, and the scope of the FCC’s exemption from TCPA liability for calls and text messages regarding urgent healthcare matters. The court did not establish definitive alternative standards for autodialers or reassigned numbers, so the vacated rulings on those points effectively return matters to pre-2015 uncertainty.
Read the full advisory here.