Applicant is barred from making further filings on same matter without FCC staff permission; Quoth the FCC, “Nevermore . . . and we mean it”
We reported last year on a wireless provider whose applications for a certain service were dismissed by the FCC. The applicant sought reconsideration and review of that decision – not once or twice, but (up to that point) ten separate times. The FCC consistently turned him down. In refusal number nine, it added, “We plan to give no further consideration to this matter, and the staff is hereby directed to dismiss summarily any subsequent pleadings . . . .”
We reported how the applicant sought reconsideration yet again. A Deputy Bureau Chief, in two brief paragraphs that cited the “no further consideration” order, dismissed the applicant once more. While we promised then to provide updates, we thought, frankly, that would be the end of it.
We were wrong.
The applicant took that last order to the full Commission, seeking review on the ground that the Deputy Bureau Chief had failed to consider certain new facts. Last week brought turn-down number eleven. Letting its exasperation show, the FCC retorted that, while a petitioner for reconsideration could rely on new facts, “[s]uch new facts or circumstances must also be relevant[.]” The FCC ruled the applicant
has presented no grounds for reconsideration of the summary dismissal of his petition for reconsideration. We therefore dismiss the instant petition for reconsideration as repetitious and frivolous.
The FCC also prohibited the applicant, and people acting for him, from making further filings in the same matter without the consent of Bureau staff. Any request for consent must include this damning statement, verbatim:
Pursuant to previous findings by the FCC that [the applicant] has abused Commission processes, and requiring [applicant] to request permission of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau to file further documents, [applicant] submits this request.
Lest any doubts remain, the FCC further instructed the Bureau to deny permission to file documents that are “frivolous, repetitive, irrelevant, obstructive, or that appear designed to cause harm in furtherance of a private interest.” The obligation to seek permission does not take effect for 30 days, during which time the applicant can try to persuade the FCC to change its mind – if not on the long-contested licenses, then at least on the permission-to-file requirement.
Further action at the FCC does not seem likely to bear fruit. (Of course, we would have said that eight or nine reconsiderations ago.) So far as we can see, the applicant’s only procedural alternative is in the U.S. Court of Appeals. But that august body has a long history of defending the FCC’s rules against what it sees as efforts to circumvent them.
We will report any further developments here.