The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled last month that consumers injured by violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which outlaws abusive telemarketing practices, may bring lawsuits in federal courts as well as state courts. Public Citizen represented Marcus Mims, the successful Plaintiff, in the case. The Court’s opinion, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, accepted without reservation, all of the arguments made by Public Citizen in support of Mims’ right to choose a federal court to assert his claims.
The TCPA forbids such practices as calls to cell phones that use automatic dialers, calls to residences that use prerecorded messages, and unsolicited junk faxes. The Act says that consumers who are victims of such practices can sue for up to $1,500 per violation. The Act specifies that those lawsuits may be brought in state courts. But, as the High Court ruled, the act does not prevent consumers from going to federal court, where they can invoke the federal courts’ general jurisdiction over all cases that are based on federal law.
The decision will make it possible for Plaintiffs with large claims that are suited to litigation in federal court to choose a federal forum for those claims. It also may facilitate class actions that could not be brought if TCPA claims were limited to state courts.
Source: Public Citizen
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