fed. District Court in NY Allows Intervenor Status to Sue Wireless Facilities

This post was written by Sebastian Perez, JD

The proposed intervention seeks to challenge AT&T’s application for wireless facilities at St. Peter (“Chapel”) as a violation of the Telecommunications Act 1996 (“TCA”). The Judge had previously ordered the Plaintiff and Defendant’s proposed settlement agreement (“Settlement Agreement”), but the Court granted the Proposed Intervention motion (“Motion”) finding that all of the factors in FRCP 24(a)(2) governing intervention are met: (1) the timeliness of motions; (2) the interests of people who are engaged in relation to property or transactions that are the subject of the action; (3) there is no intervention, then the ability of the perpetrators to protect their interests will be disrupted or hampered, and (4) the parties who take action do not adequately represent the interests of the perpetrators.

Firstly, the Motion was timely as the Proposed Intervention did not initially join in on the underlying proceedings and only knew the Settlement Agreement by word of mouth but took immediate action by retaining attorneys to petition Article 78 and then submitting their initial motion letter to intervene. Second, the Court agreed that the Proposed Intervention’s measures to protect their property from potential economic loss from potential impairment in property values ​​ranging from 15-30 percent do not simply “exceed an isolated or contingent interest” and meet the legal interest requirements. Third, the Court concluded that refusal of the Motion would impair the Proposed Interventions’ legal rights because the Settlement Agreement would waive those rights by providing that 50–70 foot high cell towers be built in the Chapel in any scenario that violates their economic property interests. . Finally, the Court ruled there was not adequate representation of the Proposed Intervenor’s interests by the parties to the trial because the Plaintiffs were seeking to build a cell tower in the Chapel and the Defendants were seeking to act in the public interest and represent those interests. The city as a whole rather than protecting the specific property rights of the Proposed Intervention.

New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC v East Hampton City Planning Agency, 2022 WL 18859063 (EDNY 1/12/2022)

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