United States Telephone Ass'n v. FCC
By: LN on May 02, 2012 09:48:54 AM

Summary:  Appellee came out with a schedule which was common for all types of violations. Petitioner claimed that the commission had violated the Administrative Procedure Act by framing the schedule.

Facts:  The FCC had decided to abandon its case by case approach for implementing § 503 (b) and hence issued an order for adopting specific standards for assessing forfeitures. The forfeiture schedule which was contemplated in its order for each type of violation could be calculated as percentage of the statutory maxima for the different services. The fines schedule provided for adjustments to the base amount which depended on various factors. Petitioner, a trade group of telephone companies sought reconsideration before the agency claiming that the commission had violated the Administrative Procedure Act by issuing standards without notice and an opportunity for commenting. The agency ruled against the appellants. Appellants sought review of the decision of the agency in the Appellate Court.

Issue:  Whether appellee issued schedule of base penalties and adjustments for determining the appropriate fines for violations of communications act in violation of Administrative Procedure Act?

Holding:  Yes, appellee issued schedule of base penalties and adjustments for determining the appropriate fines for violations of communications act in violation of Administrative Procedure Act.

Procedure:  Judgment of the commission was reversed by the Appellate Court.

Rule:  Commission can impose monetary forfeitures on licensees for violating the Act or the regulations. (§ 503 (b) Communications Act)

Rationale:  The commission's policy statements described in detail the penalties and appropriate adjustments for particular situations. It could not be imagined that the agency which was wishing the public an exhaustive framework for sanctions itself was not intending to use that framework. No agency had ever claimed that such schedule of fines was a policy statement. The schedule of fines did not fit the paradigm of policy statements.

 

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Michael Mordechai YadegariReviewsout of 83 reviews