D.C. Circuit Sides with FCC in Robocall Challenge


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court has rejected a petition that challenged the FCC’s commercial robocalls exemptions.  In accordance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Commission prohibits robocalls to residential telephone lines with certain exemptions as designated by the FCC, which include commercial non-telemarketing calls.  The 2019 Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act required the Commission to include certain requirements in its exemptions, and in Dec. 2020, the Commission issued an Order retaining the exemption for commercial non-telemarketing calls.

Petitioner Vincent Lucas challenged the FCC’s Order arguing (1) the Commission acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it maintained that exemption and (2) certain debt collection calls and broadcaster calls, which are both categorized as commercial non-telemarketing calls, should not be exemptions.  The D.C. Circuit Court rejected both of the Petitioner’s arguments, seeing the FCC’s Order as reasonable and reasonably explained and Lucas’s second argument as time-barred.  Accordingly, the Court dismissed Lucas’s Petition and upheld the FCC’s Order.

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