United States: Arbitration Provisions Shut Down Three Different Putative TCPA Class Action Lawsuits In The Seventh And Sixth Circuits

The Seventh Circuit recently derailed a putative Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") class action by ordering a district court to enforce an arbitration agreement contained in a cellular service contract. Andermann v. Sprint Spectrum L.P., No. 14-3478 (7th Cir. May 11, 2015). Andermann confirms that agreements for services, even if assigned and renewed, can still contain enforceable arbitration provisions applicable to TCPA and other claims. The case joins two other recent decisions from district courts within the Sixth and Seventh Circuits respectively that likewise compelled arbitration in the face of TCPA class action lawsuits.

The Andermann Decision

In Andermann, the plaintiffs were longtime customers of US Cellular who renewed their service agreement with US Cellular several times between 2002 and 2012. The 2012 renewal agreement included a clause that called for arbitration of any "controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this agreement." The 2012 agreement further stated that (i) the arbitration clause survived termination of the agreement and (ii) the cellular service provider could assign the agreement without notice to the customer. In 2013, following the assignment of their agreement to Sprint, the Andermanns switched suppliers (apparently because their phones were incompatible with the Sprint network). Sprint thereafter allegedly made six phone calls to the Andermanns to inform them about options to continue service with Sprint.

The Andermanns promptly responded by instituting a putative class action against Sprint based upon its alleged failure to comply with the TCPA.

Sprint moved to enforce the arbitration provision based on the assigned agreement. The district court denied the motion, reasoning that the arbitration agreement could not apply because the Andermanns had terminated their cellular service agreement with Sprint before the phone calls were made. The district court concluded that the calls thus did not "arise out of" the then-terminated agreement for cellular service.

Judge Posner reversed the district court's decision and remanded the case with an instruction to the district court to order arbitration. The Seventh Circuit held that the calls—all about the continuation of service with Sprint despite the incompatibility of the Andermanns' phones—plainly arose out of or related to Sprint's agreement to provide them with service.

The court further acknowledged the potentially fatal significance of its ruling on the Andermanns' TCPA claims. "It may seem odd that [Sprint] wants arbitration ... since it appears to have a very strong substantive defense to the suit—a defense at least as likely to persuade a judge as an arbitrator. But doubtless it wants arbitration because the arbitration clause disallows class action arbitration. If the Andermanns' claims have to be arbitrated all by themselves, they probably won't be brought at all, because the Andermanns if they prevail will be entitled only to modest statutory damages." (Emphasis added.)

The Conway and Rankin District Court Decisions

Shortly before Andermann was handed down, two district courts—one from the Seventh Circuit and the other from the Sixth Circuit—similarly issued opinions enforcing agreements to arbitrate against plaintiffs asserting TCPA class action claims. See Conway ex rel. Conway v. Done Rite Recovery Servs., No. 14-cv-5182, 2015 BL 126873 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 30, 2015) and Rankin v. Ashro, Inc., No. 2:15-cv-453, 2015 BL 117257 (S.D. Ohio Apr. 23, 2015).

In each case, the consumer plaintiff had accepted a set of standard terms and conditions used by the defendant that mandated arbitration. Each case analyzed the circumstances surrounding the formation of the agreements, their applicability to TCPA claims (neither agreement mentioned such claims specifically), and the propriety of limiting the plaintiff's recourse to the courts. Each clause was drafted broadly and covered all controversies either "surrounding" or "arising out of or in any way related to" the agreements.

Both courts held that the agreements to arbitrate were enforceable and governed the asserted TCPA class actions. In Conway, the arbitration clause further mandated that it would be the duty of the arbitrator to determine what matters were, and were not, within the scope of the arbitration agreement. This alone, the Conway court suggested, would warrant a stay of the court proceedings in favor of arbitration. Both courts stayed the matters pending completion of the respective arbitral proceedings.


Read collectively, Andermann, Conway, and Rankin not only offer solid support for the enforceability of arbitration clauses in the face of asserted TCPA claims in general, but they also provide some valuable reminders about the importance of the basics in drafting such clauses.

Companies may successfully limit the prospects of litigating TCPA (and other) class claims in court by including broad language (all disputes "arising out of or related to" the agreement) to define the scope of arbitration. Companies may also benefit from coupling a broad arbitration clause with an additional provision requiring that an arbitrator determine the scope and applicability of the arbitration clause in the event of any disputes. This "belt-and-suspenders" approach may further increase the likelihood of addressing a single TCPA claim in arbitration, rather than a class action in court. As Andermann makes plain, a clause endorsing assignment may provide protection to successor entities. And, of course, there can be enormous benefits in an agreement that expressly precludes the pursuit of class actions.

With the upsurge in TCPA class actions, and the risk of statutory damages, companies may wish to consider the utility of reviewing, revising, or implementing arbitration clauses. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Gregory R. Hanthorn
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.