United States District Courts Reach Differing Conclusions on Definition of Automated Telephone Dialing System

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The United States District Courts for the District of Massachusetts and the Northern District of Illinois recently reached different conclusions on the definition of an Automated Telephone Dialing System ("ADTS"), reinforcing a split of authority among courts across the country on the definition of such a system under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA), 47 U.S.C. § 227(a)(1).  The TCPA's definition of an ADTS is "Equipment that has the capacity - (A) to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator, and (B) to dial such numbers."

 

The District of Massachusetts found in Gonzales v. Hosopo Corp., that the phrase "using a random or sequential number generator" only modifies the verb "produce" and not the verb "store."  Because of that, to qualify as an ADTS the system need only to be able to either (1) store and dial numbers or (2) produce such numbers with a random or sequential generator and dial those numbers.  The Massachusetts court thereby joined district courts in the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits in following the Ninth Circuit's decision in Marks v. Crunch San Diego, LLC

 

Around the same time, the Northern District of Illinois reached a different conclusion in Gadelhak v. AT&T Services, Inc., joining with district courts in the Third, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Circuits in concluding that the statute requires that an ADTS be capable of dialing randomly or sequentially generated numbers, making what generates the numbers the critical question for analysis under the TCPA.

 

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