News & Events

Chicago, December 12, 2014

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Attorneys Obtain Retroactive FCC Waiver Leading to Dismissal of Class Action Lawsuit

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP attorneys Joseph P. Kincaid, Michael A. McCaskey and Julie D. Miller recently obtained a significant victory for its client who was sued in a class action pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In defending the federal lawsuit, McCaskey and Miller traveled to Washington, D.C. and met the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as part of their client’s pending petition with the FCC.  Not long thereafter, the FCC granted a retroactive waiver regarding the laws requiring opt-out notices on fax advertisements. The ruling led to the dismissal of the lawsuit, and a sweeping change to the law. The ruling may also have widespread impact on many businesses.

Specifically, the firm’s client was sued pursuant to the TCPA in a federal class action for not including particular language in its opt-out notice on faxes sent to current and potential customers. Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP attorneys convinced a federal judge to stay their case so they could petition the issue to the FCC.  Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP then met with the FCC as part of its petition for a retroactive wavier. Not long thereafter, the FCC ruled that that the law was unclear and granted Swanson Martin & Bell, LLP’s client a retroactive waiver.  The waiver provided the client with a strong defense against liability under the TCPA.  The class action lawsuit was eventually dismissed, saving significant litigation costs and reducing financial exposure for its client.
In the ruling, the FCC clarified that under the TCPA, businesses are required to include compliant opt-out notices on all faxes, even to current customers or those who granted consent to receive advertisement. While the retroactive waivers were only granted to pending petitioners, the FCC granted a six-month window to file a petition to be granted a waiver.

Please contact Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP with any questions on the waiver process and this result.  

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