The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that the application of Indiana’s Automated Dialing Machine Statute to interstate calls was not preempted by the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act or its implementing regulations (“TCPA”).  The case, Patriotic Veterans v. Indiana,  highlights the importance of considering both the TCPA and potentially applicable state laws before using an automatic dialing-announcing device (“ADAD device”) to deliver political or other types of messages.

The Indiana statute at issue prohibits the use of an ADAD device, unless the call recipient has previously consented to receiving the message, the message is preceded by a live operator who obtains consent to deliver the message, or one of several statutory exceptions applies.  The limited statutory exceptions cover, for example, a school district contacting students, parents, or employees.  Because the Indiana statute does not provide an exception for political calls, Patriotic Veterans, an Illinois-based political advocacy organization that placed the calls, would be required to obtain prior consent if the Indiana statute applied.  The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana initially held that the Indiana statute’s application to interstate calls was preempted by the TCPA.  However, the Seventh Circuit reversed based on its reading of the TCPA’s preemption clause.  The Seventh Circuit also remanded the case to the district court to consider Patriotic Veterans’ argument that the Indiana statute violates the First Amendment.