Communications Act Tag

In T-Mobile South v. City of Roswell, the Supreme Court will decide whether a letter denying a cell tower construction application that doesn’t explain the reasons for the denial meets the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA) “in writing” requirement. CellTower The State and Local Legal Center’s (SLLC) amicus brief, which IMLA joined, argues it does. T-Mobile applied to construct a 108-foot cell tower in an area zoned single-family residential.  The City of Roswell’s ordinance only allowed “alternative tower structures” in such a zone that were compatible with “the natural setting and surrounding structures.”  T-Mobile proposed an “alternative tower structure” in the shape of a man-made tree that would be about 25-feet taller than the pine trees surrounding it. After a hearing, where city councilmembers stated various reasons for why they were going to vote against the application, Roswell sent T-Mobile a brief letter saying the application was denied and that T-Mobile could obtain hearing minutes from the city clerk.

In addition to addressing local-government prayer this morning,CellTower the Supreme Court also decided to hear and answer another question impacting local governments: when a city denies a request to place a cell tower, how formally must it act? The Court granted cert in T-Mobile South, LLC v. City of Roswell, No. 13-975, which specifically asks what a local government must do to satisfy the Communications Act's "in writing" requirement at 47 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(iii):
Any decision by a State or local government or instrumentality thereof to deny a request to place, construct, or modify personal wireless service facilities shall be in writing and supported by substantial evidence contained in a written record
As the Eleventh Circuit explained in its decision, some circuit courts have ruled

Here are last week's published decisions involving local governments:NinthCircuit First Circuit Third Circuit
  • Hallsey v. Pheiffer, No. 13-1549 (Apr. 24, 2014) (reversing district court's summary judgment for officers on fabrication, malicious prosecution, and coercion claims, in case arising out of suit brought by individual wrongly imprisoned for 22 years).

Here are last week's published decisions involving local governments:SCT stairs Second Circuit Fourth Circuit

Here are published decisions involving local governments from the federal appellate courts from December 9, 2013, through December 13, 2013: Sixth Circuit Henschel v. Clare County Road Commission, No. 13-1528 (Dec. 13, 2013) (in ADA claim brought by individual not permitted to return to work after accident, reversing grant of summary judgment to road commission because genuine issues of material fact remained about whether individual was qualified). Seventh Circuit Jones v. City of Elkhart, No. 12-3912 (Dec. 12, 2013) (affirming grant of summary judgment for City...