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U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Allows Federal Suits for Nuisance Telemarketing

Posted Jan 18, 2012 12:52 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Florida man who claims he was hounded by a financial services company trying to collect a student loan may sue in federal court, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.

Marcus Mims of Fort Lauderdale had filed a federal suit for violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which authorizes private suits in state courts. In a unanimous opinion (PDF), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that state courts don’t have exclusive jurisdiction.

“We find no convincing reason to read into the TCPA’s permissive grant of jurisdiction to state courts any barrier to the U. S. district courts’ exercise of the general federal-question jurisdiction they have possessed since 1875,” Ginsburg said.

Mims had claimed the debt collector violated federal law by using an automatic telephone dialing system or artificial voice to call his cell phone without his consent.

The case is Mims v. Arrow Financial Services. Courthouse News Service and the Associated Press covered the decision.

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