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MAIS v. GULF COAST COLLECTION – 11TH CIRCUIT RULES ON PRIOR EXPRESS CONSENT

Mr. Mais sued Gulf Coast, a debt collection agency, and a healthcare provider under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227.  Mr. Mais claimed the defendants violated the TCPA when they made autodialed or prerecorded calls to him.  Gulf Coast argued the phone calls did not violate the TCPA because they fell within a statutory exception for “prior express consent,” as interpreted in a 2008 declaratory ruling from the FCC.

The trial court determined that the FCC’s interpretation was inconsistent with the language of the TCPA and, regardless of the 2008 FCC Ruling, did not apply on the facts of this case. On appeal, the 11th Circuit disagreed, and concluded that the trial court lacked the power to consider the validity of the 2008 FCC Ruling and erred in concluding that the FCC’s interpretation did not control the disposition of the case. The court held the TCPA exception for prior express consent entitled Gulf Coast to judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court’s grant of partial summary judgment to plaintiff and remanded with instructions.

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The TCPA is a consumer protection law and prohibits calls and texts to consumers’ cell phones.  The TCPA provides remedies, too.  Consumers may be entitled to money damages – $500-1500 per call or text.  Have you received unsolicited calls or texts?  For more information about your rights under the TCPA contact us for a free case review at 1-800-263-9091.