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City of Rancho Palos Verdes v. Abrams

Docket No.: 03-1601
Certiorari Granted: Sep 28 2004
Argued: January 19, 2005
Decided: March 22, 2005


Reconstruction Civil Rights Acts (42 USC 1983), Civil Rights, Civil Rights Acts, Liability, Article I, Consumer Protection, Due Process, Equal Protection Clause, First Amendment, Medicaid, Section 1983, Social Security Act, Takings Clause, immunity from suit, judicial review, racial discrimination

PartyNames: City of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, et al. v. Mark J. Abrams
Petitioner: City of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, et al.
Respondent: Mark J. Abrams

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Citation: 354 F3d 1094
Supreme Court Docket

City of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, et al.
Mark J. Abrams
544 U.S. 113 (2005)

The Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 151 et seq., as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. § 251 et seq., expressly preserves "the authority of a State or local government or instrumentality thereof over decisions regarding the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities," such as antenna towers used to provide cellular telephone service. 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7)(A). The Act also establishes limits on that state and local authority, requiring (among other things) that state and local decisions regulating the placement and construction of wireless service facilities be in writing, be supported by substantial evidence, not unreasonably discriminate among providers of functionally equivalent services, and not have the effect of preventing the provision of wireless telephone service. 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7)(B)(i), (iii). The Act further provides an express cause of action through which "[a]ny person adversely affected" by a decision alleged to be contrary to those limits may seek judicial review, subject to a 30-day limitations period. 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7)(B)(v).

Question Presented:

Whether, as held below but contrary to decisions of the Third and Seventh Circuits, the limits on state and local zoning and land-use authority established by Section 332(c)(7)(B) of the Communications Act may be enforced through an action for damages and attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988.


May people whose rights guaranteed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 are violated seek remedies other than those allowed by the act?

City of Rancho Palos Verdes v. Abrams

January 19, 2005

Holding: reversed and remanded
Decision: Decision: 9 votes for City of Rancho Palos Verdes, 0 vote(s) against
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By: Justice Antonin Scalia
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