(INDIANAPOLIS) — Attorney General Todd Rokita is leading a multistate action to overturn a federal court decision and ensure state attorneys general can effectively fight robocalls.
Thirty-five attorneys general are part of a bipartisan coalition led by Attorney General Rokita and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. The participating states have filed an amicus brief arguing that — contrary to a federal district court’s ruling — the Telephone Consumer Protection Act’s (TCPA) robocall ban was enforceable from 2015 to 2020.
“Hoosiers are sick and tired of being harassed by illegal and unwanted robocalls,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Just as I promised when I ran for this office, we will stay on the offense in our efforts to protect Indiana consumers.”
In 2015, then-President Barack Obama signed into law a “government-debt exception” to the TCPA. This exception allowed for calls and texts to consumers made for the purpose of collecting on debts owed to (or guaranteed by) 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 the part of the law that was struck down (the “government-debt exception”) contaminated the entirety of the TCPA during the period after it was enacted and before it was judicially severed from the TCPA. The TCPA, therefore, could not be used to hold robocallers accountable for actions committed between 2015 and 2020.
State attorneys general are at the forefront of the fight against robocalls, which are immensely frustrating and can cause real financial harm. The bipartisan coalition argues that, aside from the government debt exception, the rest of the TCPA can and must be upheld so it can be enforced.