BALTIMORE, MD (February 2, 2021) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a bipartisan coalition of 35 attorneys general fighting against robocalls by filing an amicus brief in Lindenbaum v. Realgy. In their brief, the states argue that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) robocall ban was enforceable from 2015 to 2020.
“Consumers have had it with irritating and potentially dangerous robocalls,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Those who violated the TCPA should be held accountable, not given a pass on five years of illegal conduct.”
In 2015, the president signed into law a government debt exception to the TCPA. The exception allows for calls and texts to collect on debts owed or guaranteed to the federal government. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated that exception and severed it from rest of the TCPA. Later, a district court ruled in Lindenbaum v. Realgy that because part of the law was struck down, the TCPA is invalid and cannot be used to hold robocallers accountable for their actions between 2015 and 2020.
The brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, asks the court to reverse the lower court’s ruling. The brief argues that the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision made clear that the invalid government-debt exception did not affect the TCPA’s primary robocall ban. It further argues that the district court’s decision was inconsistent with basic principles on severability.
State attorneys general are at the forefront of the fight against robocalls, which are extremely frustrating and can cause real financial harm to people. In January 2020, people received more than 4.7 billion robocalls nationwide.
Joining Attorney General Frosh in filing this brief are the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.