Lawsuits

Lawsuits help to shape public opinion and are a brave, valuable offense. In court a good argument, conviction, and persuasion is necessary, but remember our system also requires public pressure, well-designed laws, and honest government.

Please note this list of actions is incomplete.

Donations are listed as an option when the organization has requested donations (if known). Last Tree Laws is not a party to these lawsuits. If you donate, verify independently that the donation goes to the right place and for a worthwhile purpose.

Action to Halt Wireless Infrastructure on Public Parks – Donations

This case relates to federal environmental and disability laws, as it argues against wireless infrastructure for these reasons in public parks. Please see the following for information:

TahoeforSaferTech dot org/solutions and this informative press release

Action Against Wild West of OTARD 5G Antennas – Donations

Background: The ‘Over the-Air-Reception Devices’ (OTARD) rule is meant to allow TV antennas for personal use without permits or landlord approval, but the FCC recently amended this rule to allow these antennas to be used by non-residents for voice calls — this amendment makes most local ordinances against cellular infrastructure useless.

Children’s Health Defense (CHD) filed against the FCC on 2/26/21, to challenge the amendment of the OTARD rule in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Scroll down this page for donation instructions. Please see CHD for updates.

Action to Halt Satellite Wireless – Donations

Background: This is an administrative action to stop wireless infrastructure being sent into or planned for space. The complaint is based on the failure of the FCC to consider federal and international laws and treaties, such as treaties about space. The case is being brought forward by concerned attorneys. $100K is being sought in donations.

Healthy Heaven Trust Initiative (HHTI) website: https://ResilienceMultiplier dot com/hhti

If you would like to have your organization join the administrative FCC action as a Petitioner, or perhaps at the Appellate level by submitting an Amicus Brief, contact HHTI.

International Legal Action Network

The HHTI website above also links to ILAN.

School District Loses Wireless Disability Case

JML Law wins appeal before CA Court of Appeal in ‘unprecedented’ disability case against LAUSD. Brown v. LAUSD (Appeal No. B294240) establishes that symptoms of ‘electromagnetic hypersensitivity’ could be deemed a ‘physical disability’ under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), which is broader in scope than the ADA. The complete published opinion by the Court of Appeal can be accessed at https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B294240.PDF.

For more information, please visit http://www.jmllaw.com. SOURCE: JML Law https://finance.yahoo.com/news/jml-law-wins-appeal-unprecedented-161500982.html Fri, March 26, 2021, 12:15 PM·4 min read

Action Against FCC Refusal to Update Exposure Limits – Suit Ending

Background: Wireless exposure limits in the USA are set only to prevent heating, despite hundreds of reputable studies showing this is wrong. The FCC has refused to update, despite concerns provided from experts and professional organizations in closed dockets 13-84 and 03-137. The FCC has cited a letter from Jeffrey Shuren, FDA Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, whose opinions are suspect in part as his wife is an industry lawyer.

Court documents are neatly listed at the Environmental Health Trust.

  • Environmental Health Trust was founded by Dr. Devra Davis, who shared a Nobel prize for climate work and who has a storied career working in public health. EHT received an initial grant from the National Resources Defense Council. Please see EHT for a substantial posting of case documents.
  • Children’s Health Defense, together with Attorneys Dafna Tachover, Robert Kennedy, and Scott McCollough have filed. Note that (1) Dafna Tachover has a history of advocacy from the perspective of an individual with electromagnetic sensitivity and (2) that CHDF is not anti-vaccine, despite appearances, but pro-regulation and for better testing of vaccines for safety.

Action Against Wireless Overcharging to Allow Return of $$$ to States & End Cross-Subsidies – Donations

The Irregulators, a team of former FCC employees and telecommunication experts, are leading action against the FCC’s accounting which has (1) placed billions of the costs of wireless infrastructure onto wired services and consumers; and (2) concealed public ownership of telecommunication infrastructure.

In an initial case, the court filed an opinion that was fairly important, for in this decision, the federal DC court ruled that accounting matter must be settled in state, not federal court. With this ruling, federal court set the ball and control of accounting in the hands of the states.

Update 2021: The Irregulators are seeking 75K in donations to provide a package of instructions for states to file cases, but appears to be focused on the state of New York. See the website for donations.

Legislative Note: A relevant bill (see section 11 of this bill) was filed in Massachusetts by Kirstin to require the accounting of expenses – the Irregulators have focused on New York because it is one of the few states to mandate such an accounting and so Massachusetts must also require such or a more rigorous accounting.

Expedited Action Against FCC Ruling to Overrule Local Zoning Override – Funded

A new lawsuit is developing to fight the 2018 September ruling by the FCC to allow telecommunications companies to overrule local zoning laws simply based on a statement of (1) need to improve service or (2) need to provide a new service. This ruling was an agency decision, rather than a decision of Congress. Attorney Andrew Campanelli is lead attorney and planning to initiate cases in the DC and 2nd Circuits (CT, NY, VT). This would be an expedited hearing, with a decision in just a few months.

Action by Cities Against the FCC

Background: The FCC is regularly in court with cities and public interest groups due to its bizarre decisions, but seems to just keep finding ways to continue to defy what seems to be the intent of the law with taxpayer funds.

League of California Cities et al. A new lawsuit was filed 2020 22 June in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals against the FCC. It’s a petition for review, and they request that the FCC rulings 19-250, RM-11849, and 20-75 be ruled unlawful and vacated for preempting local and state authority. These rules limit fees, application review, zoning restrictions, and allow cell tower infrastructure to grow without limits or review.

Filing Against Provisions of Telecommunications Act of 1996

The Cell Phone Task Force and the Santa Fe Alliance for Public Health and Safety filed a lawsuit against the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in federal court on January 11, 2018. The suit asks the court to declare Santa Fe’s 5G ordinance unconstitutional, and to rule that neither the State of New Mexico nor the U.S. government may prohibit a city from protecting its citizens in relation the Telecommunications Act which states that environmental considerations may not be a factor of cellular infrastructure denial. Filings are at Justia. At the present time, the filings are completed and still waiting the attention of the court.

State & Federal Cases Relevant to 4G/5G Infrastructure

  • California Supreme Court affirms local authority to regulate wireless infrastructure. T-Mobile West LLC v. City & County of San Francisco, April 4, 2019, Docket Number: S238001.
  • US DC Court of Appeals: The Court vacated the FCC decision to bypass environmental and historic reviews. Case 18-1129 actually means all applications must include an environmental assessment (or certify that it is not needed), even the 23 states that passed a bad ALEC-written bill – the FCC lost. Various tribal and environmental groups, such as the National Resource Defense Council, put forward briefs. We have intervenor Edward B. Myers to thank. His brief was recognized by the DC Circuit judges in their final ruling. Of course, assessment can also be completed by locals/ the town & controversy sent to the FCC.
  • DC: Oct 1, 2019, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Case 18-1051: the ruling means the FCC no longer regulates the Internet (web pages, video/music streaming, online gaming and other information services). Therefore, Big Wireless has zero preemption to install or operate personal wireless facilities that emit wireless “information services” transmissions in the USA. This also means that the Wireless Industry only has preemption to place, construct and modify personal wireless facilities for wirelessly transmitting “telecommunications services” (i.e. voice transmissions.
  • CA 9th Circuit: This case arguing the FCC exceeded its authority rolling out 5G – has concluded that: (1) cities may establish aesthetic requirements that are not just “objective” and that may differ depending on zoning and facilities so long as not discriminatory (2) small cell safer harbor fees remain $500 and for recurring fees $297, but may be billed if higher (3) shot clocks set by the FCC only create “presumptions” and if more time is needed a municipality can protect itself by proving more time is needed (4) cities cannot charge more or demand more for rights-of-way usage (5) utilities cannot charge more for use of poles (6) moratoria are permitted for emergencies and construction may be rescheduled to prevent construction during freeze and frost periods (7) has more decisions restricting utility wishes (see last section). Consolidated Case Nos. 19-70123, 19-70124, 19-70125, 19-70136, 19-70144, 19-70145, 19-70146, 19-70147, 19-70326, 19-70339, 19-70341, and 19-70344 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT Sprint Corporation, Petitioner, v. City of Bowie, Maryland, et al., Intervenors, v. Federal Communications Commission and United States of America Respondents [Case 19-70123, ID 11333654]. See Montgomery County, MD, for copies of filings.
  • CA 9th Circuit – November 2018 American Electric Power Service Corporation files petition against FCC over new rules to speed up 5G & Fiber, concerned about lack of zoning permits, limits on fees, and shot clocks, saying: “The Federal Communications Commission does not have legal authority to regulate public power pole attachments due the the clear public power exemption from federal pole attachment regulations set forth in section 224 of the Communications Act, the American Public Power Association said in a recent court brief.” The AEPS notes in the brief that for over forty years, the FCC, Congress, and the courts have repeatedly recognized that the FCC does not have regulatory authority over the rates, terms, and conditions of access to public power utility poles. The following month, the AEPS and 133 public power utilities and associations on March 1 sent a letter to Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., supporting legislation she introduced that would overturn actions by the FCC to regulate public power pole attachments.

Federal Cases Relevant to Cellphones and Wireless Devices

  • REVERSAL & ORDINANCE HOLD FOR BETTER FCC: US District 9: After a decade fighting for the right to an ordinance for consumer cell phone warning that mimicked fine print of telcommunication manual’s warning, Berkeley settled after U.S. District Judge Chen said the ordinance amounted to overwarning. Berkeley will hold the ordinance until a better FCC exists. Learn about the Berkeley Right to Know (cell phone risks) ordinance and case online at SaferEMR, as described at a blog by Dr. Joel Moskowitz, who is director at the Center for Family and Community Health School of Public Health at the U of CA, Berkeley.
  • Iphone Safety Lawsuit (Law 360) Noting that more discovery is needed — including into how the FCC’s guidance should be implemented — the judge denied Apple‘s motion to dismiss. “The court is inclined to hold that if the Apple products ultimately satisfy the commission’s standard, then all claims must be dismissed on preemption grounds,” he said. “On the other hand, if the products in question do not meet the commission standards, then the court is inclined to let all of the claims go forward.” The proposed class claims that based on Apple’s misrepresentations, millions of people purchase their smartphones, carry them around all day and use them up against their skin, without being made aware of the health risks. Plaintiffs initially named Samsung as a defendant but voluntarily dismissed that company from their suit in January. The proposed class is represented by Elizabeth A. Fegan of Fegan Scott LLC and Jennie Lee Anderson of Andrus Anderson LLP. Apple is represented by Jonathan S. Tam, Amisha Rajni Patel, Mark S. Cheffo and Christina Guerola Sarchio of Dechert LLP. The case is Cohen et al. v. Apple Inc. et al., case number 3:19-cv-05322, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

More State Cases

  • CA Court of Appeal 2nd Appellate: Teacher wins disability from wireless case.
  • Florida: The Florida League of Cities and Fort Walton Beach, Naples and Port Orange file suit against state legislation to streamline 5G & hold cities liable for failing to do so (Jill Saunders, August 14, 2019, The News Journal). A circuit judge has denied the suit based on improper selection of defendants, but does not deny filing another case(Jill Saunders, 2020 April 1, Pensacola News Journal).
  • Massachusetts: Dukes County Superior Court, Land Court, Edgartown. Residents file lawsuit to halt potentially illegal tower.

More Federal Cases

  • National Association of Broadcasters on July 24, 2020, appealed the FCC decision to share 6 GHz spectrum
  • Video programming provider PSSI Global Services LLC (PSSI) is suing the FCC for reorganization of the C-band spectrum, stating in its suit: “PSSI has also repeatedly demonstrated the harm that would ensue from the operation of the Flexible 5G licenses in the lower portion of the C-band at those OU locations, both in terms of damage from radiated power, as well as interference to operations of the transportables.”