COSTA MESA, CALIF.—Just days after discussing a major TCPA ruling in the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit with Bloomberg Law, Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Artin Betpera also spoke about the case—and what it may mean to future TCPA challenges—with Law360.
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.
Betpera said courts generally prefer “to deal with these sorts of problems with a scalpel versus a steamroller.” With that in mind, the Fourth Circuit removed the provision allowing the government-backed debt exemption, but kept the TCPA otherwise intact.
“The Fourth Circuit had the TCPA on the operating table in this case. It had to decide — did the patient have a tumor? And if so, was it operable?” Betpera said. “The court answered yes to both. So instead of letting the patient flat-line, the court took a scalpel to the government-backed debt exemption, and the TCPA lives to see another day.”
The Ninth Circuit is set to hear similar First Amendment challenges to the TCPA in Gallion v. Charter Communications Inc. Betpera told Law360 that the Ninth Circuit already has shown a preference to do as little harm as possible to the TCPA in previous decisions, just as the Fourth Circuit did in this case ( American Association of Political Consultants v. FCC).
“So we could very well see the Ninth Circuit taking a page out of the [Fourth Circuit] opinion in its own approach,” he said.
Click here to read “TCPA Constitutionality Fight Gains Steam With 4th Circ. Ruling” at Law360 (subscription required).
Also, 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.