ATA Opening New Fronts In DNC Legal Fight

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WASHINGTON - The American Teleservices Association has filed a new federal lawsuit here as part of its court challenge to the Federal Trade Commission's national no-call registry, the ATA's lead lawyer in the case said yesterday.

Bob Corn-Revere, attorney with the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLC, told members at the ATA's annual Washington conference that the association had challenged the FTC's authority to apply national telemarketing rules to insurance providers who use third-party telemarketing service agencies. Another lawsuit -- albeit one not to be filed by the ATA -- challenging the FTC application of telemarketing rules to charities is in the works, Corn-Revere said.

The FTC's position is that it can regulate the activities of companies that use service agencies for telemarketing, even if those companies fall outside its normal jurisdiction.

The two lawsuits would be in addition to challenges already filed by the ATA in federal court in Colorado and by the Direct Marketing Association in Oklahoma. Both states are the federal court system's 10th Circuit.

A hearing on the DMA's request for an injunction delaying the FTC's new rules on abandoned calls and the use of pre-acquired account information, which are set to take effect on March 30, was held today in Oklahoma City, Corn-Revere said. No decision resulted from hearing, although the judge stated a ruling would be forthcoming.

A federal court in Colorado likely will hold a hearing next week about the ATA's request for a delay to the implementation of the FTC's changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule until court challenges are resolved.

The DMA and ATA filed separate lawsuits because they have differing legal strategies, Corn-Revere said. The ATA's suit focuses more on constitutional issues, while the DMA suit is more focused on the nuances of the law passed by Congress that dictates how the FTC regulates telemarketing.

While not guaranteeing victory, Corn-Revere said he was confident the court system would be fair. He said he expected that the DMA and ATA cases would go on to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and would likely be consolidated there.

"It's impossible to say going into any case what the possibility of success will be," Corn-Revere said. "What I can tell you is that we have a strong case."


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