Courts’ Determining Factor of an ATDS is How Much Human Intervention

March 5, 2020

Human Intervention is a lead qualifier in the courts

In 2019, courts’ interpretations in the classification of an ATDS (automatic telephone dialing system) depended on whether there was sufficient human intervention. When human intervention was found in ample amounts, a TCPA claim would fail because the dialing or calling equipment is not considered an ATDS. The amount of human involvement became a leading indicator of court decisions.

The industry continues to look for guidance when it comes to the definition of an ATDS under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The lack of guidance has left various courts to determine what factors of dialing equipment actually qualify as an ATDS. One of those court-created elements is human intervention.

On a case-by-case basis

Courts have determined that human intervention is a determinative factor in deciding whether a system qualifies as an ATDS. Determining human intervention is based on a case-by-case basis and not all courts subscribe to the same definition.

TCPA Defense Force’s article focuses on human intervention in multiple courts, which found that those calling devices were not autodialers.

The case, Glasser v. Hilton Grand Vacations Co., LLC. G341 F. Supp. 3d 1305 (M.D. Fla. 2018), appeal dismissed sub nom, was an excellent example that came down in the 11th Circuit which rejects the Marks v. Crunch case and upholds the statutory definition of an ATDS. Also, in this scenario, the dialing system had a click-to-call feature which the court found was sufficient human intervention.

The Seventh Circuit joined the party rejecting Marks and holds the definition of an ATDS as one that holds a random or sequential number generator.

On a scale of human involvement

Human Intervention Courts Chart

Courts’ interpretation of human intervention chart created by:

Here are a number of examples of methods used for calls and text messages that courts have found qualify as human intervention.

DAKCS Afterword: 

An Automated Telephone Dialing System (ATDS) in collections is one of the largest controversial topics with more to be defined in 2020. DAKCS offers solutions when it comes to the current dialing landscape and problem, with the Click-to-Call solution.

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