Joint Trades Letter for the Record re Judiciary TCPA Hearing

June 12, 2017

 

 

The Honorable Steve King                                         The Honorable Steve Cohen

Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member

Subcommittee on the Constitution and                      Subcommittee on the Constitution and

Civil Justice                                                            Civil Justice

Committee on the Judiciary                                        Committee on the Judiciary

U.S. House of Representatives                                   U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C.  20515                                           Washington, D.C.  20515

 

Dear Chairman King and Ranking Member Cohen:

 

The undersigned trade associations and business groups, representing hundreds of thousands of U.S. companies and organizations from across the U.S. economy, commend the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice for holding the “Lawsuit Abuse and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act” hearing.

 

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) plagues businesses and other organizations in every sector of the economy that need to contact their customers or employees. While the TCPA serves an important purpose of protecting consumers’ privacy, this 26-year-old law is outdated and being manipulated by the plaintiffs’ bar and serial plaintiffs to leverage settlements benefiting trial attorneys.  In fact, as of 2014, the average TCPA plaintiff was awarded $4.12, while the average attorney payout was $2.4 million.

 

These large paydays have only escalated litigation filings year-after-year. Between 2010 and 2016, there was a 1,272% increase in case filings.

 

At the time the TCPA was created, its sponsor, Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings (D-SC), explained the law was intended to facilitate actions in state small claims courts, which involve smaller sums and often do not require (or even allow) the participation of attorneys. Today, law firms create apps, such as Block Calls Get Cash, to specifically file TCPA cases, and some individuals purchase over 30 cell phones ensuring the phone numbers are from economically depressed areas for the sole purpose of creating an at-home TCPA “business.”  It is evident a well-intentioned law is being stretched beyond its means for unscrupulous gain.

 

Businesses need clarification and reasonable standards on how to reach their consumers, not the threat of a million or billion dollar class action lawsuit each time they pick up the phone or send a text message.  We greatly appreciate your leadership in looking at the TCPA and the abusive litigation this outdated statute is causing and look forward to working with the Committee to pursue much needed reform.

 

Sincerely,

 

ACA International

AFSA Education Foundation

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management

American Bankers Association

Arizona Chamber of Commerce

Business Council of Alabama

Colorado Civil Justice League

Consumer Bankers Association

Cruise Lines International Association

Education Finance Council

Electronic Transaction Association

Financial Services Roundtable

Illinois Chamber of Commerce

Illinois Civil Justice League

Indiana Chamber of Commerce

Insights Association

Internet Association

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York

Mortgage Bankers Association

National Association of Chain Drug Stores

National Council of Higher Education Resources

National Retail Federation

News Media Alliance

NJ Civil Justice Institute

Ohio Chamber of Commerce

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry

Professional Association for Customer Engagement

Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

SLSA Private Loan Committee (SLSA PLC)

South Carolina Chamber of Commerce

South Carolina Civil Justice Coalition

State Chamber of Oklahoma

Student Loan Servicing Alliance (SLSA)

The Consumer Mortgage Coalition

The Florida Justice Reform Institute

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies

The Satellite Broadcast and Communication Association

U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Washington Liability Reform Coalition

West Virginia Chamber of Commerce

 

 

cc: Members of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice