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Holcombe v. Credit Protection Ass'n, LP

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Athens Division

August 28, 2014

JANA HOLCOMBE, Plaintiff,
v.
CREDIT PROTECTION ASSOCIATION, LP, Defendant

Page 1312

For JANA HOLCOMBE, Plaintiff: JAMES M FEAGLE, LEAD ATTORNEY, DECATUR, GA; Kris K. Skaar, LEAD ATTORNEY, JUSTIN THARPE HOLCOMBE, Marietta, GA.

For CREDIT PROTECTION ASSOCIATION LP, Defendant: MICHAEL KEVIN CHAPMAN, DULUTH, GA.

Page 1313

ORDER ON MOTION TO STAY

C. ASHLEY ROYAL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Before the Court is Defendant Credit Protection Association, LP's Motion to Stay [Doc. 14] this case pursuant to the primary jurisdiction doctrine and the Court's inherent authority to control its own docket. Plaintiff Jana Holcombe has responded and opposes the Motion [Doc. 20]. Having considered the Motion, the response thereto, and the applicable law, the Court DENIES the Motion to Stay.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed this case on February 4, 2014, alleging that Defendant violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (" FDCPA" ), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq., and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (" TCPA" ), 47 U.S.C. § 227, by placing phone calls to Plaintiff's cell phone to collect a debt for cable television services owed to a third party.[1]

Defendant filed an Answer and now moves to stay this case pursuant to the primary jurisdiction doctrine. In support of the Motion, Defendant argues the allegations in the Complaint relevant to the TCPA claim turn on two issues currently pending before the Federal Communications Commission (" FCC" ), the administrative agency charged with executing and enforcing the TCPA. In response, Plaintiff argues a stay is unwarranted because the FCC and courts in this Circuit have consistently ruled on the issues presented.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The doctrine of primary jurisdiction is a judicial principle designed to " promot[e] proper relationships between the courts and administrative agencies charged with particular regulatory duties." [2] The doctrine

applies where a claim is originally cognizable in the courts, and comes into play whenever enforcement of the claim requires the resolution of issues which, under a regulatory scheme, have been placed within the special competence of an administrative body; in such a case the judicial process is suspended pending referral of such issues to the administrative body for its views.[3]

Referral of an issue to the appropriate agency on primary jurisdiction grounds " is favored when (a) it will promote even-handed treatment and uniformity in a highly regulated area, or when sporadic action by federal courts would disrupt an agency's delicate regulatory scheme; or (b) the agency possesses expertise in a specialized area with which the courts are relatively unfamiliar." [4]

" No fixed formula exists for applying the doctrine of primary jurisdiction." [5] Rather, in determining whether to apply it in any given case, the Court should consider " whether the reasons for the ...


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