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. I keep wondering why I keep hearing about this problem of corporations leaving America, and I never hear a reasonable proposal to lower corporate tax rates and raise personal rates on income from capital gains and dividends, especially for high earners. It is just too simple of a solution for Congress to embrace?

  2. Are you financially down and you need money to settle your dept,or you need money to start up a business or to invest on a huge business,we also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at low interest rate , loan terms determinant,Loan amount between the sum of $5,000.00 to $100,000,000.00. US Dollars And Euro. Loan for developing businesses a competitive edge/ business expansion. We Offer The Following Kinds Of Loans. Personal Loans (Secure and Unsecured) Business Loans (Secure and Unsecured) Consolidation Loan FIRST INFORMATIONS NEEDED ARE: BORROWER’S DATA’S INFORMATION,FILL AND RETURN FOR QUICK START UP PROCESS. Name:_________ Last Name:_________ Age:_________ Contact Address:_________ Country:_________ Amount Needed as Loan:_________ Loan Duration:_________ Phone Number__________ Monthly Income/Yearly Income:_________ Purpose for Loan:_________ Occupation:_________ How Soon is Loan Needed__________ Email via: albertbrownfirm@outlook.com

  3. is a disaster. SR37 already needs to be built to interstate standards between 465 and SR144. Southport Road is a mess each morning and evening.

  4. Bass Pro Shops would be good for the mall as well as a Giant Eagle Market District or a Jungle Jim's International Market Place grocery store like the one near Cincinnati Ohio.A Disney quest indoor theme park would be good.An Academy outdoor store would be good too.Indoor Circus shows and magic shows would be good as well. A casino with sports bar would be good.A Disney theater inside that shows movies and Broadway shows would work.Nashville Tennessee concert shops with indoor neon lights would be good.How about a theater that shows travel shows and theme parks. A train store would be good.How about a giant toy store with high tech video games.

  5. This development is in addition to Allpoints Midwest 5, Aitrtek, a recent FedEx and more in Plainfield. Greenwood and Brownsburg also have similar projects.

ADVERTISEMENT