City of Rancho Palos Verdes, California v. Abrams
United States Supreme Court
544 U.S. 113 (2005)
The Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7), required governments to process permits for wireless facilities within a reasonable time and to support decisions with substantial evidence. Individuals denied permits could sue within 30 days and receive expedited judicial review. In 1989, with permission of the city of Rancho Palos Verdes (city) (defendant), Mark Abrams (plaintiff) installed a 52-foot antenna on his mountain-top property for amateur use. Abrams later installed several smaller antennas without permission. Abrams used the antennas for commercial and noncommercial purposes. In 1998, Abrams applied to build a second antenna tower, which alerted the city to his unpermitted commercial antenna use. The city successfully sued to enjoin Abrams from using his antennas for commercial purposes. Abrams then applied for a conditional-use permit for commercial-use privileges. Abrams’s neighbors objected, and the permit was rejected due to aesthetic concerns. Abrams filed suit in federal district court alleging violations of § 332(c)(7). Under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, Abrams sought injunctive relief, money damages, and attorney’s fees. The district court found in favor of Abrams, rejecting aesthetic concerns because the antennas would remain absent commercial use, and whether future others would build them was an improper consideration for Abrams’s permit. The district court ordered the city to issue the permit but denied Abrams’s § 1983 damages request. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the denial of damages and remanded for determination of money damages and attorney’s fees. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 709,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 709,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 44,500 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.