John Richer comments on the Facebook vs Duguid opinion out of the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court's Decision In The Facebook vs Duguid Case
"Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court in Facebook vs Duguid, is a big win for common sense and all organizations who utilize text messaging and automated calling. With the opinion, the Supreme Court has reduced the potential for severe liability under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”)," Richer says.
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"The TCPA has stringent requirements for organizations to obtain consent to send calls and messages to consumers and others sent by an “autodialer,” and imposes penalties on improper messages/calls of up to $1,500 per message/call. The Court in Duguid settled a raging debate about the definition of an autodialer. It held to qualify as an autodialer the device must have the capacity to “use a random or sequential number generator to either store or produce phone numbers to be called," Richer says.
"Most businesses and organizations recognize there is little value in calling/messaging numbers at random. Instead, most target their messages to specific groups of customers and leads. In recent years, TCPA plaintiffs have attempted to use a strained definition of “autodialer” to argue that these targeted messages use such a device. These plaintiffs have had some success with that argument, extracting millions of dollars in judgments and settlements from well-meaning businesses acting in good faith in the process. Today’s ruling by SCOTUS destroys that argument," Richer says.
"In the short term, beyond the benefit to businesses as a whole, this is a significant win for all current TCPA defendants. Many of those actively litigating these claims should be able to quickly move for summary judgment or dismissal in their favor. In the long term, Congress will likely need to act to provide further regulation and clarification consistent with today’s ruling. Because of that, we still recommend that businesses who use automated messages/calls continue to obtain robust consent for all contacts and texts sent," Richer says.
About John Richer
John Richer is a partner/shareholder at the national law firm Hall Estill in business litigation who specializes in the TCPA. He has advised corporate clients in compliance matters involving the TCPA and other consumer protection and lender liability laws, as well as representing clients in litigation matters and class action lawsuits filed by consumers under these laws. He has read the decision this morning and of it says,