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STAY PUT: City of Albuquerque Receives Discovery Stay in TCPA Suit Over Tele-Townhalls
Monday, October 17, 2022

A lot of recent discussion in TCPAWorld about political calls and government calls–and they are two very different things.

Generally calls by a candidate pushing a campaign message ARE covered by the TCPA, whereas calls by a federal or state lawmaker carrying OFFICIAL government messages, are not. (The government can speak–you can’t. Get it?)

Local (county, city, etc.) government speech, however, IS covered by the TCPA. This according to a recent FCC ruling.

Well the City of Albuquerque–probably more of a local government–was recently sued in a TCPA suit claiming its tele-townhall outreach efforts violated the TCPA.

Now that is news in and of itself–not too many similar suits out there–but the city just earned an interesting order that smells a little like home cooking (not that I’m complaining.)

In Silver v. City of Albuquerque,  2022 WL 9348637 (D. N.M. Oct. 14, 2022) the City moved to dismiss the Plaintiff’s TCPA claim. While that motion has not yet been decided, the City also moved to stay discovery in the case–i.e. to prevent Plaintiff from moving forward in gathering information until the Court first considers whether the case can proceed.

As just explained above, the fact that he City is a City and not, say, a state or federal government likely means the TCPA applies to its messaging. So I’m not convinced they have a great shot on their motion. That being said, the magistrate judge assigned to the case granted the City’s motion and stayed the case.

Now I’m not saying this is the wrong result–I love to see defendants obtain a stay of discovery in abusive TCPA suits–I just hope all defendants would have received the same treatment and that this isn’t a little special treatment for the Duke City.

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