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Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Arguments in TCPA Case

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act case that deals with whether courts have a requirement to accept how a regulator interprets a statute.

The case, PDR Network v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, involves an unsolicited fax that was sent to the plaintiff by the defendant. The plaintiff sought to have the case dismissed because the fax was not soliciting anything, it was offering a free reference guide. The defense countered that even goods and services offered at no cost to the recipient count as a solicitation, based on a 2006 ruling from the Federal Communications Commission.

A District Court sided with the sender of the fax and dismissed the case, but the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision, which was appealed to the Supreme Court.

At issue is the Hobbs Act, which provides a mechanism for judicial review of certain orders from federal regulators. In agreeing to hear arguments on the case, the Supreme Court is seeking to answer one question: Whether the Hobbs Act required the district court in this case to accept the FCC’s legal interpretation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The Appeals Court ruled that the District Court must follow the Hobbs Act and was without jurisdiction to dismiss the case.

 

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