Debt Collection Agencies File Motion to Intervene in Support of Consolidated Appeal of FCC’s July 10, 2015 Declaratory Ruling

As we previously noted, three petitions for review were filed in the immediate aftermath of the FCC’s Declaratory Ruling and Order, which were then consolidated and randomly assigned to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. On August 7, 2015, MRS BPO LLC, Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC, Diversified Consultants, Inc., and Mercantile Adjustment Bureau, LLC filed a joint motion for leave to intervene in the consolidated appeal of the FCC’s July 10, 2015 Declaratory Ruling and Order, or in the alternative, leave to participate as amici curiae in support of petitioner, ACA International.

See Mot. to Intervene (D.C. Cir. filed Aug. 7, 2015); see also Corrected Motion to Intervene (D.C. Cir. filed Aug. 10, 2015). Each of these debt collection companies are past or present members of ACA International who have been sued under the TCPA for “calls made in an attempt to collect debts, premised on the FCC’s expansive interpretation of what constitutes an ‘automatic telephone dialing system,’ referred to as an ‘ATDS.’” Mot. at 3-4. The companies state that they each currently or have used “equipment and software to make telephone calls from a list of numbers derived from a database, rather than numbers that are randomly or sequentially generated, stored or dialed …. [and] [b]ecause of the FCC’s actions, every call made by [the companies] over the past four years and every call [the companies] make in the future with their equipment may now be subject to challenge in a TCPA action.” Id. at 8. The companies assert that the FCC’s Declaratory Ruling and Order “significantly affect the ways in which calls can lawfully be made … and expose the caller to spurious class action claims that seek to impose ruinous damages invariably prompting extortionate settlements.” Id. at 3.

In their motion, the debt collection companies also set forth a compelling explanation as to why they have the requisite interests to intervene in this action. The companies state that they “represent local mom and pop stores, family doctors, retailers, state and national banks, insurers, and governmental agencies owed money,” and “[e]ach year, the combined effort of [the companies] and other members of the collection industry result in the recovery of billions of dollars that are returned to businesses.” Mot. at 11. “Without an effective collection process, the economic viability of these businesses and, by extension, the local and national economies in general are threatened; at the very least, citizens would be forced to pay inflated prices to compensate for uncollected debts.” Id. at 12.

Stay tuned as we continue to monitor and provide updates on developments in the consolidated appeal of the FCC’s Declaratory Ruling and Order.

John S. Yi

About the Author: John S. Yi

John Yi represents clients in civil and criminal litigations in federal court, as well as investigations and enforcement actions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other federal and state regulatory bodies. For clients in health care and other sectors, he handles a full array of antitrust issues. John has helped secure merger clearances from federal regulators and defended clients’ interests in suits alleging a variety of anticompetitive conduct. He has assisted companies with internal investigations and compliance strategies. John also has experience handling all aspects of civil litigation, including discovery, settlement, dispositive motions, trial advocacy and appellate work. John also defends a number of class action cases with a wide variety of claims, including issues arising under federal and state antitrust laws, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

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