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Two cases in particular could affect Telephone Consumer Protection Act litigation, experts say.
In a case accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court for review, PDR Network LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic Inc., the issue is whether courts are bound by the Federal Communications Commission’s statutory interpretations, although the ruling could impact other agencies as well. A ruling that says courts do not have to follow the FCC’s guidance could lead to significantly higher legal expenses for businesses, experts say. Arguments in the case are scheduled for March 25.
In an insurance coverage case, faced with conflicting lower state court rulings, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has asked the California Supreme Court for its opinion on whether an American International Group Inc. unit must defend Yahoo Inc. in TCPA litigation. The case is Yahoo Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, a major TCPA case has settled.
In September, the 9th Circuit, in its Marks v. Crunch San Diego LLC ruling, expanded the TCPA’s definition of “automatic telephone dialing system,” which increased firms’ potential liability under the statute. The case settled for an undisclosed amount, according to a Feb. 21 filing with the 9th Circuit.
The 9th Circuit disagreed with rulings by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York and the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. The Supreme Court had been asked to consider the case but had not yet decided whether to accept certiorari when the case was settled.
Litigation stemming from alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, although down in 2018 from previous years, remains a major headache for policyholders, who are also facing resistance from insurers unwilling to provide coverage.