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Cohen Quoted by The National Law Journal on TCPA Trends and Auto Dialing Equipment

Sirius XM Radio Inc. worries that a smartphone could be considered auto­dialing equipment and open callers to hefty judgments under federal communications law.

Rite Aid Corp. frets it could be punished for reminding customers they are due for flu shots.

An Internet advocacy group has warned of a chilling effect on wireless communications — including notifications from a social-media account or texts sent through a ride-sharing app alerting friends of an estimated time of arrival.

These are among the concerns pitched last week to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is considering the Federal Communications Commission’s interpretation of a 1991 consumer protection law restricting use of automatic dialing equipment…

‘HUGE CAN OF LITIGATION WORMS’

Michelle Cohen of Washington’s Ifrah Law said the FCC’s expanded definition of an autodialing system under the Telephone Communication Protection Act (TCPA) opens a “huge can of litigation worms.”

“I have handled TCPA matters since the TCPA was implemented 23 years ago, and even I can’t determine what wouldn’t be an autodialer besides a rotary phone. The FCC’s expanded definition covers virtually any device that can be modified to meet the definition,” Cohen said. “What I’ve been telling clients is, ‘Just assume it’s an autodialer and focus on getting consent.’ “

The commission in particular drew criticism for how it handled situations in which a someone consented to receive calls on a phone number that has been reassigned to another wireless customer…

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