CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES et al. v. ABRAMS
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
No. 03-1601.Argued January 19, 2005--Decided March 22, 2005
After petitioner City denied respondent Abrams permission to construct a radio tower on his property, he filed this action seeking, inter alia, injunctive relief under §332(c)(7)(B)(v) of the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U. S. C. §332(c)(7), as added by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA), and money damages under 42 U. S. C. §1983. Section 332(c)(7) imposes specific limitations on the traditional authority of state and local governments to regulate the location, construction, and modification of wireless communications facilities, and provides, in §332(c)(7)(B)(v), that anyone "adversely affected by any final action ... by [such] a ... government ... may ... commence an action in any court of competent jurisdiction." The District Court held that §332(c)(7)(B)(v) provided the exclusive remedy for the City's actions and, accordingly, ordered the City to grant respondent's application for a conditional-use permit, but refused respondent's request for damages under §1983. The Ninth Circuit reversed on the latter point.
Held: An individual may not enforce §332(c)(7)'s limitations on local zoning authority through a §1983 action. The TCA--by providing a judicial remedy different from §1983 in §332(c)(7) itself--precluded resort to §1983. Pp. 5-13.