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Young’s e-mail address is gyoungnlj.com. california law permits private causes of action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 against purveyors of unsolicited fax advertisements, the California Court of Appeal, 2d Appellate District, said on July 22. Kaufman v. ACS Systems Inc., No. B155804, B156082. Two class actions were filed in Los Angeles against companies said to have sent thousands of unsolicited fax ads to them. The plaintiffs said that the faxes violated the act, which imposes a fine of up to $500 and treble damages for each violation. The trial court informally coordinated the cases, in which the defendants argued that the plaintiffs didn’t have a private cause of action under the act, and even if they did, it would be unconstitutional. The trial court ruled that the case could be maintained as a class action, and that the statute wasn’t by itself unconstitutional, but it agreed that California had not specifically agreed to allow such cases to be filed in state court. Affirming the rulings on constitutionality and class action status, the appeals court reversed on the third issue, ruling that California would have to enact a specific statute prohibiting a cause of action under the act. The court agreed that the statute was a constitutional restriction on commercial speech because it was narrowly tailored to advance a compelling state interest: to protect fax owners from having to pay for the paper to print unsolicited faxes and to prevent fax machines from being diverted from other, legitimate uses. The court rejected the argument that newer machines may have more advanced features that would obviate some of the problems because there was no proof of widespread use of those models.

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