Collector - January 2021 - 24

requiring furnishers to report an account as
current. These claims are slowly starting to
appear in jurisdictions around the country
and will likely gain momentum as consumers
and their attorneys continue to develop novel
claims premised upon the global pandemic.

RECENT LITIGATION FILING TRENDS

ATDS DEFINITION UNDER
THE TCPA

12,000

In December, the Supreme Court heard
arguments in Facebook Inc. v. Duguid-a
potential landmark TCPA case. At issue
is the statute's definition of " automatic
telephone dialing system " (ATDS).
Generally, to establish liability under the
TCPA, plaintiffs must prove an ATDS was
used to dial a cellular telephone number.
The specific language at issue is " [w]hether
the definition of ATDS in the TCPA
encompasses any device that can 'store' and
'automatically dial' telephone numbers,
even if the device does not 'us[e] a random
or sequential number generator.' " Put
more simply, does the definition of an
ATDS include devices that merely dial
from a stored list of numbers, much like a
smartphone, or does it only include systems
that random-fire generate numbers and call
those generated numbers?
Circuits are split on how to define an ATDS.
Three circuits-the 9th, 2nd and 6th-currently
favor a more expansive ATDS definition that
would include all dialers with the capacity to
call " automatically " from a stored list. Three
circuits-the 3rd, 7th and 11th-have adopted
a narrow ruling more closely hewing to the
statutory language, requiring a phone system
to use randomly or sequentially generated
numbers to qualify as an ATDS.
While the Supreme Court is difficult to
predict, recently elevated Justice Amy Coney
Barrett penned the 7th Circuit's decision
in Gadelhak v. AT&T Services, Inc., writing
that " the capacity to generate random or
sequential numbers is necessary to the
statutory definition " of an ATDS. Given the
circuit split, the Supreme Court's decision
will likely touch every outstanding TCPA
case currently filed against debt collectors.
Dozens of lawsuits have already been stayed
and the opinion could ultimately limit debt

24

FDCPA Complaints
10,000

10,140

11,440
10,050

9,796

9,029

8,341

2018

2019

6,980

8,000
6,000
4,000
2,000
0

2015

2016

2017

2020

FCRA Complaints
5,000
4,500
4,000
3,500

3,656

3,825

4,362

4,543

4,959

5,190

3,000
2,500
2,000
1,500
1,000
500
0

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

TCPA Complaints
5,000
4,500
4,000
3,500
3,000
2,500
2,000
1,500
1,000
500
0

4,638

4,424

2015

3,417

3,866

3,549

3,414

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Source: WebRecon. Data as of Nov. 24, 2020

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector - January 2021

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