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Another District Court Rules TCPA Retroactively Unconstitutional

An "OHIO Welcomes You" sign by the side of a highway

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 10:39

Last month, a district court in Louisiana handed down an unusual ruling in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that effectively rendered the law to be unenforceable for any alleged violations committed during a nearly five-year-long span of time. Now a district court in Ohio has handed down a similar ruling in another TCPA class action.

As a refresher, the court in the Louisiana case—Stacy Creasy, et al. v. Charter Communications, Inc.—ruled in favor of a motion to dismiss by the defendant that argued that the Supreme Court’s decision in Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants effectively rendered the TCPA unconstitutional during the span of time that the government backed debt exemption was in effect—between November 2015 and June 2020.

At the time, it seemed like an unusual ruling and it was unclear if it would set any meaningful precedent. However, with this ruling in a Northern District of Ohio case—Lindenbaum v. Realgy, Inc., Case No. 19 CV 2862, Doc No. 26 (N.D. Oh. Oct. 29, 2020)—this sort of legal reasoning is clearly not a fluke. The district court essentially reached the same conclusion as the Louisiana court, writing that, “Because the statute at issue was unconstitutional at the time of the alleged violations, this Court lacks jurisdiction over this matter.” While the old adage requires a third instance to declare a trend, it seems fairly clear that this TCPA defense argument has legs.