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Rock On!: Second Court Finds that BBA Amendment Exempting Government-Backed Debt Affords Complete Defense Despite FCC’s Failure to Enact Implementing Regulations

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Quick hitter for you TCPAland.

Yesterday the court in Sanford v. Navient Solutions, LLC, Case No. 1:17-cv-4356, 2018 WL 4699890 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 1, 2018) became the second court in the nation to hold that the 2015 Balanced Budget Act amendments–the same that make the TCPA a content-based restriction on speech– afford a complete defense to collectors of government-backed debt, despite the fact that the FCC never completed the process of issuing the implementing regulations required by Congress is adopting the amendment.

This same conclusion was reached back in June in the Schneider case, a decision that answered the question of what became of the FCC’s rule making efforts surrounding the implementation of the BBA carve out for collectors of government-backed debt.

Loyal readers will recall that the implementing regulations adopted by then-Chairman Wheeler’s FCC in the waning days of the Obama administration were extremely restrictive. At least one court held that the BBA amendment could not be applied without those regulations–see Cooper v. Navient Solutions., LLC, No. 8:16-cv-3396, 2017 WL 1424346, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 21, 2017). But, as Sanford points out, those draft implementing regulations were left in the dust by the Trump administration’s FCC chairman Ajit Pai so they never became law. And Sanford is now the second court to hold that the BBA exemption is enforceable even without any implementing regulations.

So there you go. Rock on you collectors of government-backed debt.

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