Appeals Court Denies En Banc Request in TCPA ATDS Case

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has denied an en banc request from the plaintiff in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act case, potentially bringing it to an end, which would be good news for the collection industry.

A three-judge panel from the Seventh Circuit issued its ruling in the case — Gadelhak v. AT&T Services — last month.

The issue at hand is how to parse a sentence in the TCPA that defines an automated telephone dialing system. In the TCPA, an ATDS is defined as “equipment which has the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and to dial such numbers.” The source of the conflict is whether “using a random or sequential number generator” applies to equipment that “stores” or “produces” telephone numbers or applies to equipment that does both.

In this case, the Seventh Circuit affirmed a lower court’s ruling that technology that does not have the capacity to generate random or sequential numbers does not meet the definition of an automated telephone dialing system under the TCPA.

None of the judges on the Seventh Circuit “requested a vote on the petition for rehearing” and all of the judges on the panel “voted to deny a rehearing,” according to the Court, which issued the notice last week.

A split among Circuit Courts does exist as to the definition of an ATDS. While the Eleventh Circuit has sided with the Seventh Circuit, the Ninth Circuit – in Marks v. Crunch San Diego — ruled that an ATDS is equipment that either stores or produces numbers to be called.

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