WASHINGTON, DC—As the split widens among appellate courts in how to define an “automatic telephone dialing system” (“ATDS”) under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Womble Bond Dickinson attorney David Carter tells Law360 that the FCC needs to step in and settle the question.

On Feb. 20, the Seventh Circuit joined several other appellate courts in adopting a narrower definition of an ATDS under the TCPA. By the Seventh Circuit’s definition, equipment must be able to generate random or sequential numbers in order to considered an autodialer for TCPA purposes. Earlier this year, the Eleventh Circuit reached a similar conclusion. 

But the Ninth Circuit defined autodialers on much broader terms in a 2018 decision, saying any device (such as an average cell phone) with the ability to redial numbers could be considered an autodialer. This broader definition gives plaintiffs greater opportunity to file lawsuits alleging TCPA violations. 

“The FCC has the power and authority to resolve this issue on a nationwide basis and it should act."

David Carter

“The FCC has the power and authority to resolve this issue on a nationwide basis and it should act,” Carter tells Law360. He also said the FCC’s delay in responding has created “undue costs and burdens on American businesses as plaintiffs’ attorneys file case after case in the Ninth Circuit.”

Click here to read, “7th Circ. Picks Narrow ‘Autodialer’ Reading In AT&T Text Row” in Law 360.

Also, click here to read, “Artin Betpera Speaks to Privacy & Data Security Law News on Eleventh Circuit’s Autodialer Definition in TCPA Case”. And keep up with all the latest TCPA-related news at Womble Bond Dickinson’s TCPA Defense Force blog

Companies rely on David Carter to guide them in Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) compliance matters and to defend them against allegations of TCPA violations. He has represented both closely held and publicly traded companies facing TCPA claims with potential liability in excess of $500 million. David runs the TCPA Defense Force whose mission is to reduce TCPA risk, allowing companies to communicate with consumers responsibly and without fear of legal consequences.

Carter will participate in a Feb. 20 ABA Webinar on “Hot Topics in TCPA Litigation”.