A District Court judge in Florida has denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for allegedly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by making collection calls to an individual’s cell phone using an automatic telephone dialing system without first receiving expressed permission to do so.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Melvin v. Ocwen Loan Servicing can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff alleged he received about 80 calls to his cell phone during a 26-month span. The calls were made allegedly with an ATDS and without the plaintiff’s permission and after he allegedly revoked consent to be contacted. The defendant argued that the court should be bound to follow a 1992 order from the Federal Communications Commission, which said the TCPA does not apply to collection calls. The court should have to follow the 1992 ruling, the defendant argued, because the ruling from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in ACA International v. FCC overruled previous orders from the regulator.
Peter Grilli, a mediator working in the District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, ruled that collection calls are not exempt from the TCPA and because the plaintiff heard silence and a clicking noise when he picked up the phone after being called by the defendant, sufficiently stated a claim for relief.
Looking at two previous rulings against the defendant on roughly the same issues, the mediator ruled that portions of a 2003 ruling from the FCC still apply, which held the TCPA applies to collection calls.