PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: June 20, 2019
  • Case #: 17-1705
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: BREYER, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which GORSUCH, J., joined. KAVANAUGH, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which THOMAS, ALITO, and GORSUCH, JJ., joined.
  • Full Text Opinion

When determining whether a court must follow an order issued by an administrative agency, a court must first determine whether the order is legislative or interpretive and whether the petitioner had a prior and adequate opportunity to seek judicial review of the order.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)prohibits any person from faxing an unsolicited advertisement. 47 U.S.C. §227(b)(1)(C). The Administrative Orders Review Act (Hobbs Act) gives federal courts of appeals “exclusive jurisdiction to enjoin, set aside, suspend. . . or to determine the validity of . . . final orders of the Federal Communication Commission"(FCC). 28 U.S.C. §2342(1). The FCC issued an order in 2006 which included faxes promoting free materials as “unsolicited advertisements.” Petitioners sent a fax to Respondents promoting Petitioner’s free reference manual. Respondents claim this violated the TCPA. The district court dismissed the case. The Fourth Circuit vacated, and held that the district court should have adopted the 2006 FCC interpretation of “unsolicited advertisement,” which includes faxes promoting free goods. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether the Hobbs Act requires a district court to follow the FCC’s order. The Court vacated and remanded for the lower court to decide two preliminary questions. First, whether the 2006 FCC Order is a legislative rule issued pursuant to statutory authority and having the force of law, or an interpretive rule which lacks the force of law. Second, whether PDR had a previous and adequate opportunity to seek judicial review of the FCC’s Order. If they did not, then the APA may permit Petitioner to challenge the Order’s validity in this proceeding. VACATED and REMANDED.

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