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7th Circuit: Federal law does not preempt Indiana’s ‘robo-call’ statute

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday reversed the decision by a federal judge that Indiana’s Automated Dialing Machine Statute is preempted by the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The injunction entered against enforcing the law had been stayed by the appellate court pending appeal.

Patriotic Veterans Inc., an Illinois nonprofit, challenged the state statute because it wanted to make automated calls – or robo-calls – to Indiana residents that delivered political messages related to a particular candidate or issue. The organization filed a complaint seeking a declaration that the law is invalid because it violates the First Amendment as it applies to political messages, and that the law is preempted by the TCPA.

Judge William Lawrence ruled in September 2011 that the U.S. law preempted the state statute and granted Patriotic Veterans’ request for an injunction.

The 7th Circuit, looking at the TCPA, held that it does not expressly or impliedly preempt the Automated Dialing Machine Statute.

“The Indiana law is more restrictive than the federal law, but in no way does it frustrate any process that the federal statute requires,” Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner wrote. In fact, the TCPA says nothing about preempting laws that regulate the interstate use of automatic dialing systems. Therefore, we must conclude that they are not preempted.”

The judges noted other courts have reached the same conclusion when considering federal preemption by the TCPA of similar state statutes.

“Because the district court decided the case on the basis of preemption, it never had reason to address the arguments regarding the constitutionality of the statute. We are a reviewing court and think that the argument would benefit from two-tiered examination. We thus reverse the ruling on preemption and remand for an evaluation of whether Indiana’s statute violates the free speech rights protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” Rovner wrote in Patriotic Veterans Inc. v. State of Indiana, et al., 11-3265.


 

 
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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