Eleventh Circuit Robocall Decision Highlights ‘Autodialer’ Split


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that autodialers under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act require the use of randomly or sequentially generated phone numbers.  That ruling differs from a Ninth Circuit opinion in 2018 that defined the term autodialer more broadly.

The TCPA restricts the use of autodialers to call or text consumers without consent. Courts across the country have grappled with what equipment falls under the law’s definition after the D.C. Circuit vacated a Federal Communications Commission order that interpreted the term broadly. After they each received over a dozen unsolicited phone calls, some about repaying a debt, others about buying vacation properties, Melanie Glasser and Tabitha Evans sued the companies that called them for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  Both women allege that the companies placed the calls through “Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems,” which the Act regulates and restricts.  Because neither phone system used randomly or sequentially generated numbers and because the phone system in Glasser’s appeal required human intervention and thus was not an auto-dialer, the Act does not cover them.


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