Category Archives: Litigation

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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

DC Circuit Court holds that FCC Guidance on Agency Law in TCPA Cases is Not Binding on Courts

On January 22, 2014 the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a two-page per curiam decision dismissing a petition by DISH Network, LLC that challenged the FCC’s “guidance” on the interpretation of agency law in the context of Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 47 U.S.C. § 227 (“TCPA”). In its May 9, 2013 Declaratory … Continue Reading

Express Written Consent Requirement for Telemarketing Calls and Texts to Take Effect October 16, 2013

New rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") last year are about to take effect. These rules will make it more difficult for businesses to make telemarketing calls and texts to wireless customers and to certain residential customers by requiring express written consent (1) to make telemarketing calls using an autodialer or prerecorded message … Continue Reading

FCC Wades Back Into Cramming Issue

 In a move that appears aimed to maximize options for new Chairman Tom Wheeler when he assumes office, the FCC turned its attention again to its rules to address unauthorized charges on telephone bills, known colloquially as "cramming."  The FCC is asking parties to refresh the record in its docket considering rules for landline and … Continue Reading

Questions About Scope of Local Authority May Come to Fore Given Expanded Opportunities for Unlicensed Deployments

Mike Dover contributed to this blog post. The Federal Communications Commission continues to pave additional avenues for building out wireless broadband networks and installing other high speed links, but questions linger over the authority of state and local governments to review and even block wireless infrastructure trying to capitalize on the FCC decisions. For example, … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Confirms the FCC’s Ability to Interpret the Scope of its Own Authority and Allows the Antenna Siting Application “Shot Clock” To Remain in Effect

In a much anticipated decision with potentially widespread ramifications across all federal agencies charged with implementing federal statutes, the United States Supreme Court has permitted the so-called “shot clock” rules of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) applicable to wireless siting applications to remain in effect. By a 5-4 margin on May 20, 2013, … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Finds That ILEC Transit Service Is Governed by Section 251(c)(2) and Subject to Lower TELRIC Rates

Barbara Miller contributed to this post. Last week, a federal appellate court issued a decision signaling a significant victory for Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (“CLECs”) that rely on Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (“ILECs”) for transiting services in order to interconnect indirectly with other local carriers. Southern New England Tel. Co. v. Comcast Phone of Connecticut, … Continue Reading

Appeals Court Rules that Federal Courts May Hear Interconnection Agreement Claims in the First Instance

Barbara Miller co-authored this post. This week, the Fourth Circuit issued an important decision concerning the jurisdiction and role of federal courts in the interpretation and enforcement of state-approved Interconnection Agreements (“ICAs”).  In Central Telephone Co. v. Sprint Communications Co., the Fourth Circuit held that plaintiffs are not required to bring claims relating to the … Continue Reading

Sixth Circuit Rules That States May Fashion ILEC Interconnection Obligations under Section 251(a)

In an interconnection decision that may have implications beyond its facts, a federal appellate court ruled that State public utility commissions (“State Commissions”) may rely on Section 251(a) in resolving interconnection disputes involving incumbent local exchange carriers (“ILECs”). On March 28, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that ILECS have … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Upholds 2011 Pole Attachment Order Lowering the Telecom Pole Attachment Rate and Paving the Way for ILEC Complaints against Electric Utility Pole Owners

  The suspense did not last long.  Less than five weeks after a spirited oral argument before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (the “Court”) on January 23, 2013, the Court today affirmed key aspects of the Federal Communications Commission’s April 2011 Report and Order and … Continue Reading

Court Rules for ISP in Deep Packet Inspection Lawsuit

Barbara Miller co-authored this post. A few years back, the use of deep packet inspection software – software that examines individual data packets in a broadband transmission – to deliver targeted advertising was a hot topic in regulatory and privacy circles.  Those activities spawned a series of cases against the DPI companies and their Internet … Continue Reading

FCC Permits Confirmatory Opt-Out Texts Under TCPA

In a ruling that FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai described as “a win for consumers and for innovative companies alike,” the FCC granted a petition for declaratory ruling filed by SoundBite Communications, Inc., finding that one-time text messages confirming a consumer’s request not to receive any future text messages do not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection … Continue Reading
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