ACA International on Friday night announced that it had learned a settlement had been reached in the case of Crunch San Diego v. Marks, which will keep the case from being considered by the Supreme Court.
The case, which was on appeal from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, centered around the definition of an automated telephone dialing system. The Ninth Circuit had ruled in the case last September that an ATDS was any device that “stores telephone numbers to be called, whether or not those numbers have been generated by a random or sequential number generator.” Crunch had appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court last month.
Terms of the settlement were not announced.
Many in the credit and collection industry were hoping for the Supreme Court to agree to hear arguments in the case, which diverged from rulings in a similar cases in the Second and Third Circuit Court of Appeals that said an ATDS was virtually the opposite of how the Ninth Circuit defined it.
Without the Supreme Court to weigh in, the industry will be left to dealing with differing opinions on what defines an ATDS, possibly exposing companies to litigation related to alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The Federal Communications Commission has said it is working on a proposed rule, but there is no timeline for its release and it would likely be at least 12-to-18 months before a final rule can be issued.
For now, companies will need to look at the regions they are operating in to determine what is and what is not allowed when it comes to using an ATDS to try and communicate with individuals. The Ninth Circuit covers the following states: Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, and Montana.