The current and future definition of what qualifies as an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS or autodialer) remains a hotly debated and evaluated issue for every company placing calls and texts, or designing dialer technology, as well as the litigants and jurists already mired in litigation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Last year, the D.C. Circuit struck down the FCC’s ATDS definition in ACA International v. FCC, Case No. 15-1211 (D.C. Cir. 2019). Courts since have diverged in approaches on interpreting the ATDS term. See, e.g., prior discussions of Marks and Dominguez. All eyes thus remain fixed on the FCC for clarification.
In this post, we revisit the relevant details of the Court’s decision in ACA International, and prior statements of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai concerning the ATDS definition to assess how history may be a guide to how the FCC approaches this issue.