Last year Jay Nixon (then AG and now Governor) in Missouri announced that he would enforce the Federal TCPA regulations requiring all telephone
calls using pre-recorded messages to 1 identify who is initiating the
calls and 2 include a telephone number or address to reach them.
He was looking to his fellow AG in Oklahoma, Drew Edmondson, who had in 2007 gone after a political telemarketer, Pope, who had made robo calls in a political campaign but had not included the TCPA identification.
Pope had gone to court stating that because the robo calls were political in nature they were exempt from TCPA regulations and that the TCPA unconstitutionally abridges his First Amendment right to free speech.
Good news! Pope has agreed to pay a fine and he is permanently enjoined from violating the provisions of the TCPA.
NOTE: This from a lawyer. It is critical to know that there is no "case law" that came out of this. There was no ruling on the first amendment.
It looks like the defendant, after initially appealing the lower (district) court's judgment against him, in the end basically dropped his constitutional objections to the statute. So the district court limited its analysis to whether or not he had violated the statute, which it found he did and thus ordered him to pay a fine and stop doing what he was doing. That's what's meant by saying there's "no case law" -- nothing on the key issue of whether or not this statute infringes on first amendment speech rights that would be useful beyond this particular guy's case.
In an order just announced April 28th, 2009:
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA
STATE OF OKLAHOMA ex rel., )
W.A. DREW EDMONDSON, )
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF )
OKLAHOMA, ))Plaintiff, ))
vs. ) Case No. CIV-06-487-C
)TIM POPE, )
O R D E R
Plaintiff filed an enforcement action against Defendant for his alleged violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. § 227(f)(1). Both parties filed motions for summary judgment, arguing that no factual disputes remain.
The crux of both motions is whether the TCPA unconstitutionally abridges Defendant’s First Amendment right to free speech. Subsequently, Defendant filed a notice (Dkt. No. 78) conceding Plaintiff’s motion and consenting to an order being entered in Plaintiff’s favor.
Plaintiff has not filed any objections to such an order and, accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 64) is GRANTED.
Defendant must pay Plaintiff damages in the amount of $4,500.00 within sixty days of the date of this order.
Additionally, Defendant is permanently enjoined from violating the provisions of the TCPA. Finally, Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 66) is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 28th day of April, 2009.