Both the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the FCC have taken helpful steps in clarifying some of the many unresolved issues facing businesses under the TCPA.
The Eleventh Circuit recently issued an opinion in the case of Lary v. Trinity Physician Financial & Insurance Services which sheds light on several TCPA related issues. First the court held that a single fax (or call) could result in multiple violations of the TCPA, for which damages could be awarded. Next the court held that in order to be awarded treble damages under the TCPA, a Plaintiff must allege facts or present evidence to establish that the defendants knew that their actions were in violation of the law. The court also found that the plaintiff’s bare assertions were legal conclusions, not allegations of fact that the court had to accept as true.
In perhaps an even bigger development, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has begun circulating his proposal to respond to a number of TCPA petitions, and provide clarity on the new TCPA rules. The announcement from the FCC, as well as a summary of the proposal is available here. While most of the proposed changes are directed towards strengthening consumer protections, there are some proposals that would benefit the call center industry. For example, in one proposal, which addresses reassigned numbers, telemarketers must stop calling the reassigned number after one call. In other words, a call center wouldn’t be liable for their first call to a reassigned number. This would be a common sense solution to the current predicament of call centers being liable for calling numbers that they had no way of knowing were reassigned. The proposal is now being reviewed by the other FCC commissioners, and is scheduled to be voted on at the June 18, 2015 commission meeting.