MIMS v. ARROW FINANCIAL SERVICES, LLC

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
10-1195
Petitioner 
Marcus D. Mims
Respondent 
Arrow Financial Services, LLC
Decided By 
Advocates
(for the petitioner)
(for the respondent)
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Marcus Mims sued Arrow Financial Services, alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit both held that they lacked jurisdiction over Mims' TCPA claim because, in their view, the TCPA creates exclusive state-court jurisdiction over private actions.

Question 

Did Congress divest the federal district courts of their federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 over private actions brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Mims, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision:

No. Writing for a unanimous court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg held that state and federal courts have concurrent jurisdiction over TCPA claims made by private individuals. Justice Ginsberg looked to the legislative history of the act, noting congress’ concern about companies evading state law prohibitions on telemarketing through interstate operations. She also noted that, apart from the deletion of an amount-in-controversy requirement, the federal-question provision of §1331 has not changed since 1875. According to Justice Ginsburg, there is a deeply rooted presumption of concurrent state and federal jurisdiction rebuttable only by an explicit statutory directive, an implication from legislative history, or an incompatibility between state and federal court interests.

Justice Ginsburg acknowledged that the TCPA’s language is state-court oriented, but argued that it did not explicitly make state-court jurisdiction exclusive, citing other statutes where congress specifically excluded § 1331 claims. She contrasted the TCPA’s language on claims made by private individuals with its directive on suits brought by state Attorneys General; these latter claims may be brought “exclusively” in federal district courts, but no such language appears in the statute’s language on private actions. Justice Ginsburg explained that congress intended to remove any confusion about courts’ concurrent jurisdiction over TCPA claims and to give states’ flexibility over the venue for these claims.

Justice Ginsburg rejected Arrow’s concerns over defendants removing $500-per-violation TCPA claims to federal court to unfairly pressure plaintiffs to settle. She pointed out that the federal district court filing fee is $350 and that only sixty five such cases have been so removed, all class action suits.

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MIMS v. ARROW FINANCIAL SERVICES, LLC. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 31 August 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2011/2011_10_1195>.
MIMS v. ARROW FINANCIAL SERVICES, LLC, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2011/2011_10_1195 (last visited August 31, 2014).
"MIMS v. ARROW FINANCIAL SERVICES, LLC," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 31, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2011/2011_10_1195.