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Federal Courts Can Hear Suits Over Nuisance Calls

(CN) - A Florida man who allegedly endured multiple nuisance calls from a debt collector can fight back with a federal lawsuit, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

Marcus Mims had initially filed his lawsuit against Arrow Financial Services in Florida's Southern District, but that court dismissed the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdicition.

The 11th Circuit affirmed in an unpublished opinion, saying that such cases should be adjudicated exclusively in state court.

Congress wanted private individuals to seek redress for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, of Federal Communications Commission regulations, "in an appropriate court of [a] state," "if [such an action is] otherwise permitted by the laws or rules of court of [that] state," according to the Atlanta-based court.

Citing precedent, however, the unanimous Supreme Court noted that lawsuits arise "under the law that creates the cause of action."

"Beyond doubt, the TCPA is a federal law that both creates the claim Mims has brought and supplies the substantive rules that will govern the case," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court. "We find no convincing reason to read into the TCPA's permissive grant of jurisdiction to state courts any barrier to the U. S. district courts' exercise of the general federal-question jurisdiction they have possessed since 1875."


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