Patriotic Veterans, Inc. v. State of IN, No. 11-3265 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Indiana enacted the Automated Dialing Machine Statute, which bans “robocalls” unless the receiver has consented to the calls in advance, Ind. Code 24–5–14–1, with limited exemptions. School districts may send messages to students and parents and employers may send messages to employees. There is no exception for political calls. Patriotic Veterans, an Illinois not‐for‐profit corporation whose purpose is to inform voters of positions taken by candidates and office holders on issues of interest to veterans, uses automatically dialed calls. For example, its website states that “in 2010, Patriotic Veterans, in partnership with singing idol Pat Boone sponsored nearly 1.9 million calls to veterans and seniors across the U.S. about cuts in Medicare as a result of the passage of Obamacare.” Patriotic Veterans claims that it cannot afford to make the calls without using an automatic dialer and a recorded message and that live operators cannot make calls fast enough when time is of the essence, such as on the eve of an election, and sought a declaration that the law violated the First Amendment and was preempted by the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 227, which also regulates use of autodialers. The district court found that the TCPA preempted Indiana’s statute as applied to the interstate use of autodialers and entered an injunction against enforcement with regard to political messages. The Seventh Circuit reversed with respect to preemption and remanded for consideration of other issues.