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The U.S. Supreme Court is a court of review, not of first view.
Petitioner sent a fax to health care providers stating that they could reserve a free copy of a new e-book version of the Physicians' Desk Reference on petitioner’s website. Respondent, a fax recipient, brought a putative class action in Federal District Court, claiming that petitioner’s fax was an “unsolicited advertisement” prohibited by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (Telephone Act). The District Court dismissed the case, concluding that petitioner’s fax was not an “unsolicited advertisement” under the Telephone Act. However, the Fourth Circuit vacated the District Court's judgment based on the Administrative Orders Review Act (Hobbs Act). Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the facts as alleged demonstrated that petitioner’s fax was unsolicited advertisement.
Does the Hobbs Act require the district court in this case to accept the Federal Communication Commission's legal interpretation of the Telephone Act?
No definite answer. Case is remanded back to the Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court found it difficult to answer the question of whether the Hobbs Act commitment of exclusive jurisdiction to the courts of appeals required a district court in a private enforcement suit to follow the FCC's 2006 Order interpreting the Telephone Act because the answer may have depended upon the resolution of two preliminary issues. The court of appeals had not yet addressed the preliminary issues, which asked what was the legal nature of the 2006 FCC Order, and whether petitioners had prior and adequate opportunity to seek judicial review of the Order. Hence, the Court remanded the case.