U.S. Sen. John Thune, chair, U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Courtesy of wikipedia.org
The South Carolina Civil Justice Association (SCCJC) was among thirty-two organizations to sign on to a letter commending the leadership of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee for holding a hearing on possible reforms of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
As Palmetto Business Daily reported last week, the TCPA was originally sponsored by former South Carolina U.S. Senator Fritz Hollings (D) and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. Many believe the law is an outdated consumer protection statute, and that plaintiffs’ lawyers have been exploiting the law’s outdated language to bring class- action lawsuits against businesses.
"The TCPA, which was enacted over 25 years ago, was well-intentioned legislation aimed at protecting the privacy of everyday Americans against abusive telemarketing calls," reads the coalition letter, which was addressed to Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the committee.
"But the TCPA has become an engine for abusive class action litigation that has become widespread," continues the letter. "The numbers are staggering. Last year alone, 3,710 TCPA lawsuits were filed in federal court, and between 2010 and 2015, case filings increased by over 940%."
In addition to the SCCJC, the letter was signed by organizations that include the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, ACA International, the American Insurance Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, and a number of state chambers of commerce and business organizations.
"Given that the TCPA has not been meaningfully amended by Congress since 1991, countless well-intentioned businesses and organizations (small and large) who legitimately try to communicate with employees, members or customers find themselves defending abusive class action litigation," concludes the letter. "The alleged liabilities appear in many forms and are usually based on expansive legal theories that Congress never intended when it first enacted the TCPA."
The hearing will take place in Senate Russell Building 253 at 10 a.m. tomorrow.