On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) allows private citizens to seek relief in federal (in addition to state) court. Overturning an Eleventh Circuit decision that Congress had vested jurisdiction over private TCPA actions exclusively in state courts and disagreeing with numerous other Circuit courts that had reached the same conclusion, the Supreme Court held that the TCPA’s provision allowing private citizens to bring suit for violations “in an appropriate court of [a] state” does not deprive U.S. district courts of a concurrent authority to adjudicate claims. Nothing in the text, structure, purpose or legislative history of the TCPA calls for displacement of the  jurisdiction U.S. district courts . . . ordinarily have,” said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the Court.
The TCPA was enacted by Congress in 1991 in response to complaints regarding abuses by telemarketers. The underlying case leading to the Supreme Court’s decision was Mims v. Arrow Financial Services, LLC.