February 11, 2015
On January 14, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in T-Mobile South, LLC v. City of Roswell. This case concerns whether a document from a state or local government stating that an application has been denied, but listing no reasons for the denial, can satisfy the Communications Act’s “in writing” requirement.
In an opinion delivered by Justice Sotomayor, the Court held that the written document issued by a state or local government denying the application for a cell tower does not need to contain the reasons for denial as long as the reasons for denial appear in some other written record, are clearly written, and are accessible to the applicant essentially contemporaneously with the written denial notice.
Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan joined the opinion of the Court. Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion. Chief Justice Roberts filed a dissenting opinion which Justice Ginsburg joined in full and which Justice Thomas joined as to Part 1. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion. The judgment of the Eleventh Circuit was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.
To discuss the case, we have Megan Brown, who is a partner at WileyRein.