Congress Holds Hearing to Examine Abusive TCPA Lawsuits

June 13, 2017

Today, the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing to examine the abusive lawsuit industry that has been unintentionally fueled by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

We applaud the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice for taking its rightful responsibility to modernize the law.

“The TCPA is woefully outdated,” said Lisa A. Rickard, president of the Institute for Legal Reform. “Just as Congress should stop predatory marketers from harassing the public, it should also stop predatory plaintiffs’ lawyers from bringing abusive class action lawsuits against businesses making legitimate calls to their consumers.”

The TCPA was enacted in 1991 to protect consumers from abusive landline telemarketing. The year the TCPA became law, only three percent of Americans subscribed to wireless telephone services and smart phones were non-existent. As of January, 2017, 95 percent of the American public has wireless phone service and 77 percent of people in the U.S. own a smart phone.

The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, along with over 40 other signatories, sent a letter to the Committee in advance of the hearing, urging Congress to provide “clarification and reasonable standards on how [businesses can] reach their consumers, not the threat of a million or billion dollar class action lawsuit each time they pick up the phone or send a text message.”

Witnesses at the hearing included: Mr. Adonis Hoffman, a former FCC official; Mr. Rob Sweeney, Founder & CEO of Mobil Media Technologies; and Ms. Becca Wahlquist from Snell & Wilmer LLP on behalf of the Institute for Legal Reform.

In his prepared testimony, Mr. Hoffman noted that “TCPA” is better suited as “total cash for plaintiffs’ attorneys” given how the law is currently misused, while Mr. Sweeney’s testimony highlighted how abusive TCPA litigation has been devastating for his business. You can view all of the hearing testimony here