IBJNews

State supreme court upholds Indiana robocall law

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The state’s highest court said Thursday that a law that bans some automated calls with recorded messages does not violate the free speech clause of the Indiana Constitution and can be enforced.

But the law remains under scrutiny in a federal lawsuit as well.

The Indiana law applies to commercial and non-commercial speech and prohibits automated, pre-recorded calls unless a live operator introduces the message. Schools are exempted, as are organizations that receive a consumer’s permission to call.

The General Assembly passed the law 23 years ago but it’s only been enforced against political calls for the past six, prompting a wave of state and federal lawsuits. The Indiana Supreme Court’s decision Thursday essentially puts an end to the state questions.

“This ruling is a big win for Indiana consumers and the state’s strict telephone privacy statute,” said Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller. “Over the years we have worked diligently to ensure Hoosiers are not contacted at home with annoying, unsolicited automated calls. Indiana’s auto-dialer law exists to prevent everyday citizens from receiving unwanted messages and we will continue to protect this law against any and all challenges."

The state suit was brought by FreeEats.com, which had made robo-calls during a 2006 Congressional campaign. The company argued that the requirement that a live operator introduce the recorded message was a violation of constitutionally-protected speech.

But the Indiana Supreme Court said in a 4-1 decision the requirement “does not impose a substantial obstacle on FreeEats’s right to engage in political speech,” even if it increases the cost of making the calls.

“A conclusion that a statute violates the state constitution when it increases the economic costs to engage in political expression, without any showing that the right to political expression no longer serves its purpose, would be unsound,” the court said.

The law remains under fire in federal court. In October, a federal judge ruled that the Indiana law violates the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which regulates calls made from one state to another.

The ruling said that federal law would allow Indiana to prohibit the calls completely. But the state law doesn’t do that. Instead, the court said, it regulates the calls by putting restrictions on their use – primarily the requirement that a live operator introduce the call.

Zoeller has appealed the ruling and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has put the order on hold while it considers the case. That stay – combined with the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision Thursday – means the law can be enforced.

Over the past two years, more than 10,000 complaints have been filed with the attorney general's office about unwanted telemarketing calls. About 72 percent of the complaints are about auto-dialed calls.

Violations of the law can result in fines of up to $5,000 per call.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT