Attorney General Fitch today filed an amicus brief in Facebook v. Noah Duguid, a U.S. Supreme Court case that will determine the scope of the protections of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This case is key to Mississippi and other states’ ability to protect residents from abusive robocall tactics that threaten and scam people out of their money. The brief was co-authored by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill.
“If Facebook prevails here, there will be a gaping loophole in the law that protects citizens from abusive and unsolicited robocalls,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “We filed this brief on behalf of all the Mississippians who have said enough’s enough to annoying, deceptive, and sometimes even malicious robocalls.”
The TCPA, enacted in 1991, generally prohibits the use of an autodialer or an artificial or pre-recorded voice to make a call to cell phone users. At issue in the case is whether autodialers include any device that can store and dial numbers automatically, or whether autodialers are limited to devices that use a random number generator. In their brief, the 38 attorneys general side with the plaintiff, Noah Duguid, and argue that the TCPA applies to all kinds of devices that store and dial numbers automatically.
To narrow the definition of autodialers, as Facebook argues, would leave consumers unprotected under the TCPA. Narrowing the definition would also harm states’ ability to protect consumers under the TCPA and would limit collaboration among states and the federal government to take action against abusive robocallers.
Attorney General Fitch is joined in filing today’s brief by the Attorneys General of North Carolina, Indiana, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the brief is available here.
Release from Attorney General Lynn Fitch.