Updates on cases, laws, and other topics of interest to local governments

Subscribe by Email

Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a Reader

Follow Municipal Minute on Twitter


Blog comments do not reflect the views or opinions of the Author or Ancel Glink. Some of the content may be considered attorney advertising material under the applicable rules of certain states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please read our full disclaimer

Monday, November 25, 2013

Indiana's Robocall Law Not Preempted by Federal Law

Indiana enacted a law called the "Automated Dialing Machine Statute" to ban "robocalls," a type of automated, computer-generated calls, unless the receiver has consented to the calls in some manner before the automated message is delivered.  The robocall law includes certain exceptions, including school district calls to parents and employer calls, but no exception for political organizations.  
Patriotic Veterans, Inc., an Illinois non-profit organization,  used robocalls to inform voters of positions taken by candidates for office on issues of interest to veterans.  The group filed a complaint against the State of Indiana claiming that the law violates the First Amendment as it applies to political messages.  The group also claimed that the law is preempted by the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which regulates telemarketers and autodialers.  The district court held that the TCPA preempted Indiana's law, and granted an injunction against enforcement of the law against Patriotic Veterans.  Indiana appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
On appeal, the Seventh Circuit disagreed with the district court, and ruled that the Indiana law was not preempted by the TCPA.  Patriotic Veterans, Inc. v. State of Indiana (7th Cir. Nov. 21, 2013).  First, the TCPA contained no express preemption.  In fact, the TCPA contained a non-preemption clause.  Moreover, just because a federal law is comprehensive  in nature, that does not necessarily mean that states are barred from imposing additional requirements, such as Indiana's law.  Conflict preemption also did not apply because Patriotic Veterans could comply with the Indiana law without violating the TCPA. 
Because the district court did not rule on the First Amendment arguments, the case was remanded back to the district court.
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


Post a Comment