Supreme Court to Consider TCPA Circuit Split on Interpretation of “Advertisement”

The Supreme Court will address a circuit split over the interpretation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s provision imposing liability for sending unsolicited advertisements.  PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc., No. 17-1705, 2018 WL 3127423 (U.S. Nov. 13, 2018).  The majority view—held by the Eleventh Circuit—is that an unsolicited fax is only a prohibited “advertisement” if it attempts to promote the sale of a product.  Florence Endocrine Clinic, PLLC v. Arriva Med., LLC, 858 F.3d 1362, 1366 (11th Cir. 2017).  The minority view is that there is no such requirement.  See, e.g., Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc. v. PDR Network, LLC, 883 F.3d 459, 467 (4th Cir. 2018).  The Court may also decide the related issue of whether a statute limiting review of certain FCC orders means that district courts must follow the FCC’s interpretation of the TCPA even when that that interpretation is unreasonable.  Eleventh Circuit cases are not fully settled on this point.  Compare Mais v. Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, Inc., 768 F.3d 1110, 1119 (11th Cir. 2014) (requiring heightened deference), with Florence, 858 F.3d at 1366–67 (construing the TCPA without reference to the FCC’s interpretation).

Posted by Nick Boyd.

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