FCC Commissioner: TCPA Litigation a "Mess"

May 17, 2019

Commissioner Michael O’Rielly of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said yesterday that class action litigation around the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a “mess” and a “spider web.”

Currently, he said the ambiguity around the law has created “a crippling litigation threat for businesses in virtually all industries." He added that “it’s not consumers who ultimately reap the proceeds of judgments and settlements, but attorneys; the average recovery for TCPA class members is a few measly dollars, whereas the average recovery for a plaintiff’s lawyer is well over $2 million." He stressed the need for reasonable reform, saying that “eliminating illegal robocalls is a critical priority,” but the FCC “must remain mindful not to catch legitimate organizations” with the law.

Commissioner O’Rielly said the FCC must re-define automatic telephone dialing system “in a clear and rational manner” after the old definition was struck down by the D.C. Circuit last year.