Third Circuit Restricts Corporate Officer Liability under Telephone Consumer Protection Act

Adrienne C. Rogove

In a recent precedential opinion in City Select Auto Sales, Inc. v. David Randall Associates, Inc., 885 F.3d 154 (3d Cir. 2018), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed a judgment by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey following a jury verdict dismissing a case brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227, against the president and co-owner of David Randall Associates, Inc. (“DRA”). DRA was a commercial roofing company. Raymond Miley (“Miley”) was its president and a majority shareholder. DRA hired Business to Business Solutions (“Business Solutions”) to fax unsolicited advertisements to thousands of fax numbers. City Select was the recipient of some of these faxes.

Under the TCPA, it is “unlawful for any person…to use any telephone facsimile machine…or other device to send, to a telephone facsimile machine, an unsolicited advertisement.” 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(C) (emphasis added). The Federal Communications Commission has defined “sender” as the person “on whose behalf [the faxes] are transmitted.” 10 FCC Rcd. 12391, 12407 (1995). Here, City Select argued that the “on whose behalf” language was meant to place liability on the author or originator of the relevant faxes, and therefore, Miley, as the author or originator of the faxes, was a “sender” under the TCPA. Continue reading “Third Circuit Restricts Corporate Officer Liability under Telephone Consumer Protection Act”

False Hope for False Claims Act Defendants? Government Dismissals of Qui Tam Cases May Increase

Nicholas C. Harbist and Lauren E. O’Donnell

On January 10, 2018, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) Civil Fraud Section Director, Michael Granston, sent an internal memorandum (the “Memorandum”) to attorneys responsible for civil False Claims Act (“FCA”) enforcement. The Memorandum provides guidance to DOJ attorneys considering whether to dismiss FCA qui tam cases. The Memorandum begins by noting that, while the number of FCA qui tam cases has increased substantially over the years, the rate of government intervention has remained the same. The Memorandum advises DOJ attorneys to consider seeking dismissal as they evaluate whether to intervene. Continue reading “False Hope for False Claims Act Defendants? Government Dismissals of Qui Tam Cases May Increase”

Financial Institutions’ Hiring Practices under the Microscope: The Importance of Anti-Corruption Programs

Shawn M. Wright, Mayling C. Blanco, and Richard L.A. Wolf

On February 14, 2018, another major financial institution disclosed that it is under investigation for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). This disclosure comes at a time when the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) continue to scrutinize the hiring practices of financial institutions in and with respect to their Asian markets.

Investigations of Financial Institutions Operating in Asia

In its earnings statement, the financial institution announced that the DOJ and the SEC are investigating its “hiring practices in the Asia Pacific region and, in particular, whether [it] hired referrals from government agencies and other state-owned entities in exchange for investment banking business and/or regulatory approvals” in violation of the FCPA.1 In November 2016, a similar financial institution and its Hong Kong-based subsidiary agreed to pay the SEC, the DOJ, and the Federal Reserve Board $264 million to settle charges that it violated the FCPA by hiring unqualified employees referred by government officials, particularly those with connections to upcoming transactions.2 Other financial institutions have been investigated for similar practices in the region.3 Continue reading “Financial Institutions’ Hiring Practices under the Microscope: The Importance of Anti-Corruption Programs”

WEBINAR | Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Litigation Concerns: Class Actions, Criminal Exposure, and Criminal Tax Implications

Wednesday, April 11

1:00–2:00 p.m. (EDT)

Online via WebEx

Click here to register

 

 

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are not only dominating the headlines, they’re changing the way companies do business. As the regulatory, transactional, and litigation landscapes continue to evolve at a rapid pace, Blank Rome’s attorneys have maintained cutting-edge knowledge of the issues facing a broad range of businesses in a wide range of areas.

On Wednesday April 11, 2018, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. (EDT), Blank Rome Partners Michelle Gitlitz, Carlos Ortiz, Ana Tagvoryan, and Shawn Wright will present a live webinar that will cover some of the most important issues facing companies today, including:

  • Blockchain basics—what you need to know
  • White collar issues surrounding the adoption of blockchain applications or the use of digital currencies, including SEC, CFTC, state enforcement efforts, and criminal tax implications
  • Class action vulnerabilities and implications

Please contact Marianne Talbot for more information about this event.

New Jersey Supreme Court Grants Absolute Immunity to City of Paterson under Tort Claims Act

A Blank Rome appellate team successfully represented the City of Paterson in Hamrick Lee v. Brown, et al., recently obtaining complete relief from seven consolidated wrongful death and personal injury suits, in a New Jersey Supreme Court decision that will have significant implications for NJ taxpayers and the public interest. Continue reading “New Jersey Supreme Court Grants Absolute Immunity to City of Paterson under Tort Claims Act”

Third Circuit Holds “Settlement Language” in Collection Letter Can Be Misleading

Jonathan M. RobbinEdward W. Chang, and Scott E. Wortman

In a change of course from its prior holding in Huertas v. Galaxy Asset Mgmt., 641 F.3d 28 (3d Cir. 2011), the Third Circuit rules that the terms “settlement” and “settlement offer,” in connection with collecting of a time barred debt, may connote litigation and thus mislead a consumer. However, the Court continues to hold that settlement terms alone do not necessarily constitute deceptive or misleading practices under the FDCPA.

In a unanimous published decision in Tatis v. Allied Interstate LLC, No. 16-4022 (3d Cir.) the Third Circuit reversed the District of New Jersey’s granting of a motion to dismiss. The lower court had held that a debt collector’s attempt to collect the time-barred debt did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) because the collection letter was not accompanied by a threat of legal action. In its order overruling the lower court, the Third Circuit deviated from its prior holding in Huertas v. Galaxy Asset Mgmt., 641 F.3d 28 (3d Cir. 2011) and instead looked to the more recent decisions from its sister circuits—the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh—which all held that the term “settle” could mislead a consumer. Continue reading “Third Circuit Holds “Settlement Language” in Collection Letter Can Be Misleading”

SCOTUS Gives Pendent State Law Claims New Life in Artis v. District of Columbia

Bruce M. Gorman, Jr.

Recently, in Artis v. District of Columbia, the Supreme Court ruled on the nagging question of how long a plaintiff has to refile a pendent state law claim in state court after it has been dismissed by a federal court. The answer: longer than you would have thought. Continue reading “SCOTUS Gives Pendent State Law Claims New Life in Artis v. District of Columbia