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Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency v. Silver

Plaintiff Neil Silver sued defendant Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), alleging that defendant PHEAA called his cell phone using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) or pre-recorded voice, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). While the case was pending, the TCPA was amended to exclude calls “made solely to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States” from the scope of the TCPA’s prohibition on making calls to cell phones using an ATDS or pre-recorded voice. The district court granted summary judgment to PHEAA based on the amendment. The Ninth Circuit reversed, applying the test set forth in Landgraf v. USI Film Products, 511 U.S. 244 (1994), to hold that the amendment does not apply retroactively.

PHEAA then filed a cert. petition seeking review in the Supreme Court. Public Citizen served as co-counsel for Mr. Silver in opposing the cert. petition. Our brief in opposition explained that there is no circuit split and that the court of appeals correctly held that applying the TCPA amendment would have an impermissible retroactive effect. The Supreme Court denied the petition.