Category Archives: Litigation

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Court Rules in FTC’s Favor on “Common Carrier” Status in Cramming Case

On an issue that takes on new-found importance after FTC v. AT&T Mobility, a federal court in Montana granted summary judgment in favor of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in a case alleging that the defendants violated the FTC Act by placing charges on consumer telephone bills for purportedly unwanted service add-ons, such as voicemail, … Continue Reading

FTC Announces Two Telemarketing Cases

On January 13, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it filed two lawsuits against more than a dozen individual and corporate defendants allegedly coordinated by two individuals.  In the complaints, the FTC alleges multiple violations of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).  Specifically, the complaints allege that over a period several years, the … Continue Reading

Citing an “Enforcement Gap,” FTC Seeks Rehearing En Banc of Dismissal of AT&T “Throttling” Case

On October 13, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit requesting a rehearing en banc of the court’s decision in the FTC’s case against AT&T alleging that the company dramatically reduced – or “throttled” – data speeds for certain customers on unlimited data … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC’s Open Internet Rules

In a 2-1 decision, the D.C. Circuit’s Court of Appeals upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC or Commission) 2015 Open Internet rules, which reclassified Broadband Internet Access Services (BIAS), including mobile broadband, as telecommunications services subject to Title II common carrier regulations, as well as its rules against blocking, throttling, paid prioritization and enhanced transparency. We … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Sustains TCPA Plaintiff’s Claim Following an Unaccepted Settlement Offer

iStock_000008141839LargeOn January 20, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, where it was considering whether a plaintiff seeking damages under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) is able to maintain his individual claim and claims on behalf of a putative class once that plaintiff has received an offer … Continue Reading

The FCA and the USF: Reactions and Impressions from the FCBA’s False Claims Act Seminar

Last week, the Federal Communication Bar Association’s (FCBA’s) Enforcement Committee hosted a legal seminar on an issue that is somewhat new and unfamiliar to the communications bar – the federal False Claims Act (FCA), and particularly its use by the federal government to combat fraud in the Universal Service Fund (USF).  All in attendance had … Continue Reading

What Does Uber Mean for Telecom Carriers?

The business model employed by ride-hailing company Uber Technologies, Inc., has certainly been disruptive in the transportation business. Now, a decision involving Uber may have implications for telecommunications carriers as well. In a closely watched decision, a California federal judge agreed to certify a class of California drivers who claim to have been misclassified as … Continue Reading

A First Look at the FCC’s 2015 TCPA Declaratory Ruling and Order

On July 10, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) released the text of its omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order (“TCPA Declaratory Ruling and Order” or “Ruling”), which the Commission adopted by a 3-2 vote almost a month earlier, on June 18, 2015. In Friday’s Ruling, the FCC responded to 21 petitions by … Continue Reading

Webinar: The TCPA Thicket: Making Sense of the FCC’s Latest Ruling

On June 18,  the FCC approved a major TCPA Declaratory Ruling that redefines what equipment falls within the definition of an “autodialer,” specifies liability for calls to reassigned telephone numbers, provides consumers with a right to revoke consent by any reasonable means, and establishes new exceptions for financial and healthcare related calls, among other changes. With … Continue Reading

FCC Commissioner Says “It is Time” for FCC to Act on TCPA Petitions

In remarks before the Association of National Advertisers on April 1, FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly expressed sympathy regarding the onslaught of TCPA litigation in recent years against “legitimate” businesses attempting to contact customers with valuable information.  He called on the Commission to “provide clear rules of the road” for TCPA enforcement that will allow businesses to … Continue Reading

FCC Extends Deadline for Call-Blocking Technology Comments

On December 17, 2014, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (“CGB”) released an order extending the deadline to January 23, 2015 for interested parties to file comments in response to a request from the National Association of Attorneys General (“NAAG”) for a formal opinion regarding the legality of certain call-blocking technologies. The extension was granted pursuant … Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Input on State Attorneys General’s Call-Blocking Technology Inquiry

The FCC’s docket dedicated to resolving issues related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) has been very active as of late.  Sometimes, it takes a while for the Commission to react to a filing made before it.  One recent example is the Public Notice released by the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau on November … Continue Reading

In One Action, FCC Rules Against 24 TCPA Petitioners but Grants Retroactive Waivers of Opt-Out Requirements for Faxes

On October 30, 2014, the FCC released an order that effectively resolves nearly half of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) petitions pending before it. This order addresses 24 petitions seeking clarification of the Commission’s rules requiring individuals and entities that send fax advertisements to include certain information on the fax to allow recipients to “opt-out” … Continue Reading

FCC Reminds Political Campaigns of TCPA Obligations Ahead of Elections

With mid-term elections just around the corner, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau issued a stern warning to political campaigns and calling services regarding their obligation to comply with the TCPA and stating that the Commission “will not hesitate to act to protect consumer privacy and their freedom from the nuisance of unwanted calls.”  The Enforcement Advisory … Continue Reading

AT&T Mobility Agrees to Pay $45 Million to Settle TCPA Litigation

On September 30, 2014, AT&T Mobility (“AT&T”) asked a U.S. District Court judge to approve a settlement agreement that would resolve a class action arising under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA” or “Act”).  In this case, the plaintiffs alleged that AT&T made auto-dialed calls to wireless phone numbers without receiving the prior express consent … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Sends a Strong Signal in NAB Case – Public Notices May Not Be Reviewable

In May of this year, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) petitioned the D.C. Circuit to review a Public Notice issued by the Media Bureau.  The Public Notice, entitled “Processing of Broadcast Television Applications Proposing Sharing Arrangements and Contingent Interests,” explained a shift in how the Bureau will review certain broadcast license assignments and transfer applications.  … Continue Reading

In the Latest TCPA Twist, State AGs Seek FCC Guidance on Legality of Call-Blocking Technology

On September 9, 2014, the National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter signed by 39 state attorneys general to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler seeking a formal opinion as to whether there are any “legal and/or regulatory prohibitions [that] prohibit telephone carriers from implementing call-blocking technology,” and, if such prohibitions exist, whether a carrier may nevertheless … Continue Reading

FCC Urges Court to Adopt Narrow View of “Express Consent” for Autodialed Calls

On June 30, the Office of General Counsel for the Federal Communications Commission filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit urging the court to reverse a district court ruling that an individual consented to receiving debt collection calls by providing his cellular telephone number to an electric company … Continue Reading

FCC Holds “Robocall Broadcaster” Liable for Its Clients’ Prerecorded Messages

Already in May, the FCC Enforcement Bureau had proposed multi-million dollar NALs for cramming and TRS violations.  On May 8th, the FCC proposed a forfeiture for unlawful prerecorded messages (“robocalls”) sent to wireless phones.  What is most interesting, though, is that the FCC held the entity that facilitated the calls liable, not the parties on whose behalf … Continue Reading

DOJ Announces Indictments of ATMS Executives on Criminal Charges for Alleged Lifeline Fraud

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that three Associated Telecommunications Management Services LLC (ATMS) executives were indicted yesterday charging one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 15 substantive counts of wire fraud, false claims and money laundering for their alleged role in a scheme to submit false claims to the Universal Service … Continue Reading

Mobile App Provider Seeks Clarification on Applicability of the TCPA to OTT Texting Services

With class action cases proliferating, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) continues to receive petitions seeking guidance on the applicability of its rules to various calling or texting scenarios. In the latest example, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment on a Petition for Declaratory Ruling filed by TextMe, Inc. (“TextMe”). TextMe provides a free mobile telephone app … Continue Reading

FCC Grants, with Conditions, TCPA Waiver for Package Delivery Notifications; Allows Intermediary Consent for Text-Based Social Networking

The Federal Communications Commission (the “Commission” or “FCC”) seems to be opening the spigot a bit on its extensive backlog of Telephone Consumer Protect Act (“TCPA”) petitions. On March 27, 2014, the Commission granted, in part, two petitions for declaratory ruling from the Cargo Airline Association (the “CAA Order”) and GroupMe, Inc./Skype Communications S.A.R.L. (the … Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Makes Significant Ruling Affecting CLECs’ Rights for Interconnection

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (“District Court”) made a potentially significant pronouncement regarding the procedure affecting interpretation and enforcement of interconnection agreements and the types of claims that can be brought. In Level 3 Communications, LLC and Broadwing Communications, LLC v. Illinois Bell Telephone Co., et al.,  4:13-cv-01080-CEJ (E.D. Mo. … Continue Reading

Another TCPA Petition Reaches the FCC

Litigation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has exploded over the last few years.  During the course of such litigation, parties typically will seek the input of the Federal Communications Commission on issues of interpretation of the TCPA.  This may occur through a request from the court under the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, or, … Continue Reading
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