TCPALaw.com originally began in 1996 as a repository of research materials and case law for litigants and attorneys. It slowly evolved with news, a slip reporter service, and on-line databases for tracking defendant activities. It is now the number one source for research and support of Telephone Consumer Protection Act litigation. It has been recommended to litigants by the FCC as a resource, and counts many state legislators’ offices and state attorneys’ general offices as subscribers.
In the beginning, practically no attorneys had any desire to become involved in taking telemarketers and junk faxers to court. This meant that consumers had to proceed on their own or pro se. Lacking official legal training, they relied on a network of other consumers, and a few attorneys who were friendly to the cause, to develop a base of knowledge and documents that helped them win their cases. Becoming experts in the TCPA, some of these non-attorneys are now the authors of published law review articles and write the briefs for dozens of TCPA attorneys (and even attorneys general). No where else in the law have non-attorneys had such a major impact in court cases.
Case law and research
One of the most important resources for consumers taking on telemarketers and junk faxers has been the library of TCPA court cases. Attorneys and courts don't like to go out on a limb. They want to know how other courts have ruled on the same issue. The problem is that most TCPA cases are brought in small claims courts, and even thouse brought in higher courts are rarely "reported" - meaning that legal publication services do not publish the text of the court decisions for others to use.
By creating a library of court decisions, briefs, research, and other materials, consumers involved in TCPA cases can get copies of those materials for use in their own cases. In fact, by using TCPALaw.com, most consumers can go into court with more knowledge of the TCPA and the court cases than most attorneys have.
We believe that consumers are served best in the long run by everyone knowing how courts have ruled in the past, and how the law is properly interpreted. It is often suggested to small claims courts seeing repeated TCPA cases to write a comprehensive decision when deciding a TCPA case, so that future litigants may learn from it. This philosophy has been beneficial to everyone - consumers are better prepared to present their cases to courts, defendants have more predictability by knowing the likely outcome of a case, the courts benefit from more efficiency, and the law benefits from more uniform application. Furthering that interest, all sitting judges (including small claims court magistrates) are given access to the case law library on TCPALaw.com at no charge.
TCPALaw.com began with consumers trying to win their cases against well heeled corporate defendants like AT&T who had giant law firms defending them, so as a result, the materials on TCPALaw.com were mostly plaintiff-oriented. Indeed, for many years defendants were prohibited from accessing the site. The publishers respect that tradition and certain briefing materials and research on the site remain available only to consumers and plaintiffs. However, the case law library and most other portions of the site are open to everyone.
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