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Petitioners challenged the FCC's 2017 order altering regulations for business data services (BDS). ILEC Petitioners challenged new price cap rates in the order and CLEC Petitioners challenged most of the other changes in the order. The Eighth Circuit granted CLEC's petitions in part and vacated in part. The court denied the petitions for review on all other issues. The court held that the FCC's 2016 notice gave CLEC adequate notice of large scale deregulation and of the adopted Competitive Market Test, but the notice failed to give sufficient notice of its ending of ex ante regulation of transport services. This failure prevented interested parties from informed participation in that portion of the rulemaking and release of a draft of the proposed order did not remedy the FCC's violation of its obligations under the Administrative Procedure Act. Therefore, the court vacated that portion of the final rule affecting time division multiplex transport services and remanded for further proceedings. The court rejected challenges to the FCC's adoption of the Competitive Market Test. The court also held that the FCC did not act unreasonably in excluding low bandwidth Ethernet business data services from price caps; in declining to extend the Interim Wholesale Access Rule to business data services; and in setting the "X-factor" annual price cap reduction at 2%. View "Citizens Telecommunications Company of Minnesota v. FCC" on Justia Law

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In 2013, while Koger was serving a 300-day sentence in the Cook County Jail, Lyons sent him at least 10 books, plus magazines and newspapers. More than 30 books were seized from Koger’s cell for violation of Jail policy. In a suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, Lyons and Koger claimed that limiting inmates to three pieces of reading material violated the First Amendment. The district court rejected the suit. The Seventh Circuit affirmed with respect to Lyons, who lacked standing because Koger received everything she sent, but vacated as to Koger. The court noted that Koger challenged the policy, rather than the particular seizure, and that the policy provides for no pre-deprivation process. View "Lyons v. Dart" on Justia Law

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The Levins allege that HRRG violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692- 1692p by leaving telephone voice messages that did not use its true name, did not meaningfully disclose its identity, and used false representations and deceptive means to attempt to collect a debt or obtain information about a consumer. They complained that messages in which HRRG went by the name of “ARS” were insufficient to identify it as HRRG or even as “ARS ACCOUNT RESOLUTION SERVICES,” which is HRRG's alternative business name. The Third Circuit reversed, in part, the dismissal of the complaint, finding that the Levinses stated a plausible claim that HRRG violated section 1692e(14)’s “true name” provision, but have not stated plausible claims under 1692d(6) or 1692e(10). ARS is neither HRRG’s full business name, the name under which it usually transacts business, nor a commonly used acronym of its registered name. With respect to section 1692d(6), the court stated that the messages provided enough information about the caller’s identity for the least sophisticated debtor to know that the call was from a debt collector and was an attempt to collect a debt. Nothing in the messages rises to the level of being materially deceptive, misleading, or false under section 1692e(10). View "Levins v. Healthcare Revenue Recovery Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff’s claims brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, holding that there was no error in the district court’s decision to grant summary judgment to Defendants on all of Plaintiff’s claims. Plaintiff’s lawsuit stemmed from the covert installment of screenshot-capturing software on Plaintiff’s work computer, which led to his arrest and plea of nolo contendere to one count of possession of child pornography. Plaintiff brought his claims against the individuals who participated in the events leading up to and following his arrest. The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below. View "Boudreau v. Lussier" on Justia Law

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Helping Hand filed suit against Darden Restaurants, Mid Wilshire Consulting, Kang, and Jones, under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227, asserting that Mid Wilshire, through Kang and Jones, sent an unsolicited fax advertisement to Helping Hand on behalf of Darden. The district court granted Darden summary judgment and dismissed the claims against the remaining defendants. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that would hold Darden strictly liable because its goods or services were advertised in a fax regardless of its authorization of such advertisement. Nothing in the statute allows the imposition of liability on an entity wholly unaware of the use of its logo in a fax. The court noted the lack of any evidence connecting Darden to the fax and Helping Hand’s lack of diligence in conducting discovery. View "Helping Hand Caregivers, Ltd. v. Darden Restaurants, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court held that Phone Recovery Services, LLC (PRS), as a corporation, did not have standing to bring this qui tam action on behalf of the Commonwealth against Defendants, Verizon of New England, Inc. and other communication services providers, under the Massachusetts False Claims Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 12, 5A-50. In its complaint, PRS claimed that Defendants failed to collect from their customers and remit to the Commonwealth the statutorily required surcharge for 911 emergency telephone service and knowingly provided false information to the Commonwealth to avoid certain financial obligations. The superior court allowed Defendants’ motion to dismiss, concluding that the 911 surcharge was not subject to the Act. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the matter for a judgment dismissing the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, holding that PRS had no standing to bring this action because it was not an “individual” for purposes of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 12, 5A and thus did not qualify as a relator under the Act. View "Phone Recovery Services, LLC v. Verizon of New England, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2015, the Sacramento News and Review (the newspaper), published by appellant Chico Community Publishing, Inc., investigated Sacramento’s then-Mayor Kevin Johnson and his staff’s use of city resources in the take over and eventual bankruptcy of the National Conference of Black Mayors (the National Conference). As part of that investigation, the newspaper made a request to the City of Sacramento (the City) pursuant to the Act for e-mails in the City’s possession that were sent from private e-mail accounts associated with Johnson’s office. In the City’s review of the records on its servers, it identified communications between Johnson’s office and the law firm which represented the National Conference in its bankruptcy proceedings and Johnson, along with the National Conference, in litigation connected with Johnson’s contested election as the National Conference’s president. The City flagged these e-mails as potentially containing attorney-client privileged information. It then contacted the law firm to notify it that the City was compelled to release these emails because the City had no authority to assert attorney-client privilege over the records on behalf of outside counsel. The law firm contacted the newspaper and asked it to agree the City could withhold any records it determined included attorney-client communications. The newspaper refused and contacted the City, which admitted telling the law firm that some of the emails may have been privileged. Following the newspaper’s refusal to allow the City to withhold e-mails containing attorney-client communications, the National Conference, Johnson in his official capacity as the former president of the National Conference, and Edwin Palmer in his official capacity as Chapter 7 Trustee for the National Conference filed a petition for peremptory writ of mandate against the City and its City Attorney’s Office to prevent disclosure of records to the newspaper. A requester of public records who successfully litigates against a public agency for disclosure of those records is entitled to reasonable attorney fees under the California Public Records Act. The issue this case presented for the Court of Appeal's review was whether the Act also allowed for an award of attorney fees to a requester when the requester litigates against an officer of a public agency in a mandamus action the officer initiated to keep the public agency from disclosing records it agreed to disclose. The Court concluded the answer was "no." View "Nat'l Conference of Black Mayors v. Chico Community Publishing, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2011-2012 a million people received phone calls asking them to take political surveys in exchange for a chance to go on a free cruise. Some recipients filed a class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 227, seeking damages from defendants who had not placed the calls but had directed them. The district court certified a class and later granted plaintiffs partial summary judgment. The parties settled. Plaintiffs agreed to release their claims against all defendants and their agents. Defendants agreed to pay into a fund between $56 million and $76 million, depending on the number of approved claims submitted. Out of the fund will come payments to the class, incentive awards to the named representatives, about $2 million in administrative expenses, and attorneys’ fees. The class will receive payments in two rounds. If some claimants do not cash the checks during the second round, remaining funds will go to “an appropriate cy pres recipient.” Over the objections of a class member, the court approved the settlement, estimating that each claimant will receive $400. Class counsel will receive 36% of the first $10 million, 30% of the next $10 million, 24% of the next $36 million, and 18% of any additional recovery. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting arguments that the award of fees overcompensates class counsel and that the settlement’s approval was improper. View "McCabe v. Caribbean Cruise Line, Inc." on Justia Law

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Sorenson and VRSCA petitioned for review of the FCC's 2017 Order setting rates for Video Relay Service (VRS). The DC Circuit held that VRSCA failed to establish associational standing because it did not identify a specific member who had been injured by the 2017 Order and it did not disclose that it was fully funded by Sorenson. In regard to Sorenson's petition, the court held that Sorenson had standing under the competitor standing doctrine and Sorenson was not barred from challenging the tiered-rate structure because of its prior lawsuits. On the merits, the court held that the FCC reasonably interpreted its efficiency mandate by retaining its tiered-rate system to prevent the market from devolving into a monopoly. Finally, FCC's tiered-rate structure in the 2017 Order was reasonable. Accordingly, the court dismissed VRSCA's petition for lack of standing and denied Sorenson's petition for review. View "Sorenson Communications, LLC v. FCC" on Justia Law

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Defendants service student loans. Parchman, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, filed suit, alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227, which prohibits a party from making a call “using any automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice,” absent an emergency or consent. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants “negligently, knowingly and/or willfully contact[ed] Plaintiffs on Plaintiffs’ cellular telephones without their prior express consent and repeatedly contacted plaintiff Parchman, even though he never gave them his cell phone number, never owed any debt to any Defendant, and told them to stop calling. Plaintiffs alleged that, although plaintiff Carlin took out a student loan in 2012, Defendants repeatedly contacted her, even after she demanded in writing that they stop calling her, in October 2014. Defendant NSI successfully moved to sever and dismiss Carlin’s claims because the calls involved different companies and their respective calling practices. Plaintiffs unsuccessfully moved to amend the complaint after Parchman died to substitute Parchman’s daughter. Defendants argued that the requisite elements of adequacy of class counsel and adequacy of class representatives were not met. The Sixth Circuit reversed in part, holding that a TCPA claim does survive death, but affirmed with respect to Carlin’s claims. View "Parchman v. SLM Corp." on Justia Law