Judge Denies Motion to Stay TCPA Case To See How FCC Defines Autodialer

A District Court judge in California has denied a defendant’s motion to stay a case accusing it of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act in order to wait for a new definition of automated telephone dialing system from the Federal Communications Commission, ruling that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has already “definitively answered” that question.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Izor v. Abacus Data Systems, Inc., can be accessed by clicking here.

The defendant is accused of using an autodialer to send two automated text messages to the plaintiff’s cell phone without first obtaining the necessary consent to do so. The class-action complaint was filed in the District Court for the Northern District of California this past February.

Because the Ninth Circuit — which includes California — issued its ruling in Marks v. Crunch San Diego months after the FCC began its process of re-defining what constitutes an ATDS, the judge in this case declined to offer a stay for the defendant. The FCC was forced to alter its rule about autodialers following the decision in ACA International v. FCC. But Judge Haywood Gilliam, Jr., ruled that there was no reason to wait for the FCC to make its decision.

“In essence, then, Defendant asks this Court to hold that the state of the law is so unclear that this case must await FCC guidance when the Ninth Circuit has repeatedly found otherwise,” Judge Gilliam wrote. “The Court declines that invitation and finds that primary jurisdiction does not support granting Defendant’s request for a stay.”

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