On April 1, 2021, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS”) under the TCPA is limited by the plain grammar of the statute itself.  The Court, in a decision authored by Justice Sotomayor, held that a device must have the capacity to use a

This morning, in a brief line order, the Supreme Court vacated its prior grant of the Federal Trade Commission’s petition for certiorari in Federal Trade Commission v. Credit Bureau Center, LLC (“Credit Bureau”). Justice Barrett did not take part in the decision to vacate the grant of certiorari. None of the remaining Justices

It has been more than two years since the D.C. Circuit found the Federal Communications Commission’s (the “FCC”) discussion of predictive dialers and other equipment alleged to be an automatic telephone dialing system (“ATDS,” or “autodialer”) to “offer no meaningful guidance” on the question. In the absence of an FCC ruling on the remand, multiple

While the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia creates an immediate vacancy on the bench, it also likely leaves the high court’s docket in limbo on a number of key consumer class actions awaiting the Court’s decision.

Many predict that President Obama will not be able to replace Scalia before the 2016 Presidential election, meaning that the seat may be vacant for the remainder of the term.  Democrats have been urging the President to immediately nominate a successor, with Republicans imploring the President to give that right to the next Commander-in-Chief.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that the Senate should not confirm a replacement until after the 2016 election.

Until a successor is confirmed, it means that the Supreme Court will be comprised of four reliable liberals, three reliable conservatives, and one Justice Kennedy, who typically leans to the right but has often acted as the Court’s swing vote.  With only eight justices, it is likely that we will see a number of important cases end in a 4-to-4 split this year, including several key cases relating to consumer class actions.  In the case of a tie, the appeals court decision will be upheld, no precedent will be set, and the Supreme Court traditionally will not issue an opinion.

Here’s a brief rundown of how Scalia’s passing may affect three key consumer class actions in front of the Court this term.

Case: Spokeo Inc. v Robins (Docket No. 13-1339)
Issue: Whether Congress may confer Article III standing upon a plaintiff who suffers no concrete harm, but alleges a private right of action based on a bare violation of a federal statute.
Outcome in a split:  Plaintiff’s win – would make a bare violation of a federal statute sufficient to confer Article III standing, thereby making it easier for plaintiffs to move forward in litigating cases alleging statutory violations.
Continue Reading Scalia’s Death Leaves High Court in Limbo on Three Key Consumer Class Actions