Burr & Forman

09.7.2016   |   Blog Articles, FCC, Florida, Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Two Florida Courts Stay Cases Pending Outcome of FCC Declaratory Ruling Appeal

Coatney v. Synchrony Bank, No. 6:16-cv-389-Orl-22TBS (M.D. Fla. Aug. 2, 2011), Ricks v. Allied Interstate, LLC, No. 3:16-cv-00205-HES-PBD (M.D. Fla. July 11, 2016)

In two recently published cases, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida stayed proceedings pending the outcome of ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission, which challenges the FCC’s July 10, 2015, Declaratory Ruling. The basis for both Motions to Stay was the fact that the ACA appeal bears directly on the what constitutes an Automatic Telephone Dialing System (ATDS). As the Court in Coatney noted:

In a July 10, 2015 FCC Ruling, the FCC broadly defined the capacity of an ATDS as “not limited to its current configuration but also includes potential functionalities. In ACA International, the D.C. Circuit will determine whether this expansive definition of “capacity” is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague.

While the Coatney court noted that Courts have gone in both directions as to whether stays should be granted, it agreed with recent decisions in the Eleventh Circuit finding, under similar circumstances, that a stay pending resolution of ACA International is warranted.

The Ricks Court also cited a number of district courts granting stays pending the outcome of the ACA appeal, adding that the appeal has been fully briefed and a stay would likely not be lengthy. The Court also noted that the case was in the early stages and would not likely result in prejudice to Plaintiff, finding noteworthy Defendant’s argument that denial of the Motion could lead to unnecessary fees and expenses depending on the outcome; thus, granting the stay would preserve resources.

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