A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Duran v. La Boom Disco, Inc. has interrupted the emerging consensus around the definition of “autodialer” in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. On April 7, 2020, a Second Circuit panel joined a Ninth Circuit panel in adopting a broad reading of the statutory definition of “automatic telephone dialing system,” commonly referred to as an autodialer. The Duran decision also rejected the reasoning in opinions issued by panels in the Seventh and Eleventh Circuits earlier this year, which deepens the split between the Courts of Appeals and increases the pressure on the Federal Communications Commission, Congress, and even the U.S. Supreme Court to provide clarity on what constitutes an autodialer under the TCPA.
Slowly but surely, the U.S. Courts of Appeal increasingly agree on how to interpret the definition of “automatic telephone dialing system” in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. On February 19, 2020, a unanimous Seventh Circuit panel refused to revise a putative class action in Gadelhak v. AT&T Services, Inc. after concluding that the dialing system used by AT&T did not qualify as an autodialer. Like the Eleventh Circuit in Glasser v. Hilton Grand Vacations Company, LLC and Third Circuit in Dominguez v. Yahoo, Inc., the Seventh Circuit held that an “autodialer” must use “a random or sequential number generator” to either store or produce numbers. Because the system used by AT&T simply pulled numbers from a database, the court found that the system was not an autodialer and the texts did not violate the TCPA.