Government Regulation -- 2018

Hodgin v. UTC Fire & Security Americas Corp.   (4th Circuit)

Manufacturer liability for third-party telemarketing calls

The NAM filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit addressing the issue of vicarious liability for alleged telemarketing calls made by third party dealers that sold equipment. UTC and Honeywell, as the manufacturers of the equipment, are the deep pockets the plaintiffs tried to make pay for telemarketing under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), but the manufacturers had no control over the calls whatsoever. The court below held that UTC and Honeywell could not be vicariously liable under the TCPA for the complained-of calls placed by such “authorized dealers.” Holding otherwise would have serious economic consequences and could punish manufacturers for a wide range of unlawful conduct by third parties that they do not control. The NAM's brief argued that for vicarious liability to be established, a principal-agent relationship must have existed, and that it is clear from both contractual language and the general nature of the manufacturer's relationship with the third-party dealers that no such relationship existed. The Fourth Circuit agreed with the NAM by affirming the lower court's decision.

Related Documents:
NAM amicus brief  (September 1, 2017)


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