COSTA MESA, CALIF.—This week, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down an exemption to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) allowing companies to make automated calls to customers in order to collect government-backed debt. As a result, companies likely will no longer be allowed to place automated calls in order to collect government-backed student loan and other debts, at least within the Fourth Circuit’s footprint.

Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Artin Betpera discussed these latest developments with Bloomberg Law. Betpera tells Bloomberg Law that the Fourth Circuit’s decision likely will result in an increase in TCPA litigation against companies that collect government-backed debt, especially student loans.

“‘The Court put the TCPA on the operating table’ and surgically removed the offending provision from the statute,” Betpera said to Bloomberg Law.

In its ruling, the Fourth Circuit said the government debt exemption subverted the privacy protections the TCPA was designed to address. However, the Fourth Circuit left the TCPA otherwise intact. Betpera said the ruling may be a bellwether on how the Ninth Circuit will rule in similar First Amendment challenges to the TCPA filed by Charter Communications and Facebook.

Click here to read “Robocall Debt-Collection Exemption Struck Down” at Bloomberg Law (subscription required).

Artin Betpera is a partner and trial lawyer with a national practice principally representing financial services companies in high stakes litigation in federal and state courts, involving both class and individual claims. He has developed a particular focus on Telephone Consumer Protection Act litigation, but has significant experience in traditional commercial litigation, and regularly appears on behalf of some of the country’s most significant banks and financial institutions. He also manages and supervises a litigation team serving the firm’s clients across the state of California.