EPIC and NCLC to Eleventh Circuit: Callers Must Get Consent to Use Some Mass Dialers That Call From List Even Post-Duguid
February 11, 2022
EPIC and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) filed an amicus brief in Evans v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, arguing that according to the plain language of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Ocwen violated the TCPA if its dialing system used a number generator to mass dialed people without consent, even if Ocwen called telephone numbers from a stored list.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in Facebook v. Duguid that the TCPA’s restriction on “automated telephone dialing systems” or autodialers only covered equipment that used a “random or sequential number generator.” Since Duguid, the question of what “random or sequential number generator” means—is it something that generates any number or is it only limited to telephone numbers?—has become hotly contested in TCPA cases. EPIC has filed amicus briefs in several such cases.
Evans and several other plaintiffs sued Ocwen after collectively receiving hundreds of debt collection calls, even after repeated requests for the calls to stop. The district court dismissed the case, stating that it was implausible that the plaintiffs’ telephone numbers were generated using a “random or sequential number generator.”
In their amicus brief, EPIC and NCLC argued that “random or sequential number generator” should be given its plain meaning: code that can generate any type of number. EPIC and NCLC explained that the scope of the Supreme Court’s holding in Duguid was limited and that the Court did not decide what the phrase “random or sequential number generator” meant. The brief also described, from a technical perspective, what random and sequential number generators are, how they work, how some list-based mass dialers use them to make automated calls, and how such autodialers differ from cellphone and other consumer dialing systems. EPIC often participates as amicus to explain the technology at issue in a case. EPIC also routinely files amicus briefs in Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases.