The D.C. Circuit recently issued its long-awaited decision in ACA Int’l v. FCC, where it upheld certain FCC rulings from its 2015 Omnibus Ruling and Order and vacated others. The decision keeps intact the FCC’s ruling on the ability to revoke prior consent and an exemption from liability for certain urgent healthcare-related calls/messages. On the other hand, the decision vacates the FCC’s expansive definition of an autodialer and the strict liability for calling reassigned numbers, but offers industry and other courts no definitive guidance on how these issues should be addressed in the future. Thus, the decision presents companies that communicate with consumers and businesses by telephone and text message with continued uncertainty on these issues.
The decision was praised by Republican commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr as well Chairman Ajit Pai, with Commissioner O’Rielly claiming that the decision “rejects the former Commission’s misguided interpretation of the law, inappropriate expansion of scope, and irrational view of reassigned numbers.”
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP partners Marc S. Roth and Ronald G. London provided a detailed analysis of the court’s reasoning behind its findings, its implications for corporate compliance going forward and what guidance it provides for courts when faced with claims involving autodialers and reassigned numbers.