September 05, 2023

Seventh Circuit back to back rulings shed light on TCPA applicability to unsolicited faxes

TCPA Blog

The 7th Circuit recently issued a decision in Smith v. First Hospital Laboratories, Inc., holding that in some “narrow situations” a fax offering to buy a product or service might be considered an advertisement under the TCPA if the fax also refers to a related offer to sell another product or service.  2023 WL 509070, *6 (7th Cir. 2023).

Smith is a decision driven by its particular facts.  The plaintiff, a chiropractor, received two unsolicited faxes from First Hospital Laboratories (FHL), a company that provides health monitoring and screening services through a network of medical providers who act as independent contractors.  Id. at *1. The faxes invited plaintiff to join FHL’s network of preferred medical providers.  Id.  The faxes also stated that FHL would pay plaintiff a fixed rate for each service he rendered to one of FHL’s clients.  Id.  FHL would refer clients to the plaintiff only if he agreed to allow FHL to invoice the clients directly for the services and neither attempted to obtain more than the fixed rate nor disclosed to the clients the fixed rates that FHL was paying the plaintiff for the services.  Id. at *4.  The clear implication was that FHL would profit by charging the clients more than the fixed rate it was paying the plaintiff to render the services.  Id.

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