Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Verizon vs. the City of Hudson

On Monday, the Register-Star published an article about the lawsuit filed by Verizon over siting wireless communications antennas on Providence Hall, 119 Columbia Street: "Verizon lawsuit names city, planning board, code enforcement." The following is quoted from the article: "City corporate counsel Cheryl Roberts said the city put its insurance carrier on notice about the lawsuit and is interviewing law firms to represent the city if insurance coverage is denied."

Last night, the Common Council passed a resolution "authorizing the hiring of outside counsel to respond to Verizon v. City of Hudson." The resolution states that the firm to be hired is Hinman Straub and the amount to be paid is "not to exceed $15,000.00." Commenting on the resolution, Council president Tom DePietro said the law firm was being hired to "evaluate the lawsuit and advise the City."


  1. Not at all surprising if the insurance carrier denies coverage -- it appears that there is at least a colorable claim that the City caused the problem here by behaving in ways that caselaw makes clear are untenable as a matter of law. From the cheap seats, it seems it was either a failure by counsel to properly advise the Planning Board on how to behave or those members of the PB who, having been properly guided, believed they can still just do what they want and the law be damned. In either event, the $15k is a rather modest down payment on the real cost of full-fledged litigation of this sort. Let's hope the City doesn't exacerbate the problem any further.

  2. $15K only to evaluate and advise?

    Forgive my frugality, but with five lawyers already employed by the city are none of them equipped to evaluate and advise on this?

    Isn't this a task for a "corporate counsel"?

  3. Ironic since they got their approval and they didn't paid attention to tenants or residents comments. Hope the case gets thrown out.

  4. Let's save the city $15K by all reading and comprehending - as in understanding that the city will LOSE - the FCC's 2018 Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order titled “Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment” (address below).

    It's patently obvious to anyone who can read (but does anyone read anymore?) that the conditions placed on Verizon by the city are unlawful.

    I suppose if the real ambition is to lose before the Circuit Court, or even the SCOTUS itself, then that's a sort of a win for the reputations of individuals who don't mind toying with monsters at the city's expense.

    Or is there a simpler explanation for why we're wasting this $15,000? Are our city attorneys simply passing the buck?

    Read the FCC's Declaratory Ruling and understand, the Common Council is wasting $15,000 when any lawyer worth their salt can evaluate the situation within minutes.

  5. We’re about to pay our city taxes and nobody’s interested in the Common Council wasting $15,000 so our Corporate Counsel can shirk her responsibility?

    In 2018, the FCC preempted cities and towns from imposing their own 5G regulations, and last August the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled against a coalition of cities suing the FCC on this very point.
    Here’s that decision which took me two minutes to find online (TWO MINUTES!!):

    For all those Progressives out there who warm to notions of centralized government, beware the invincibility of the administrative state.

    But also beware the utter wastefulness of your local government. Seriously, $15K for something that any chump with internet access can figure out in a heartbeat? We’re a ship of fools, and as we know from history a fool and his money are soon separated.

  6. Unheimlich, you are hardly a 'chump' but a lot of us might be regarding reading laws, but thanks for posting. I do agree that $15K is a total waste of taxpayers money and I did indeed wonder what on earth the City's corporate lawyer is there for.

    1. Thanks Jennifer, I'm wondering the same thing. What in God's name are our lawyers doing to farm out such a question?

  7. Someone suggested I dumb it down further.

    Among the long list of plaintiffs who are primarily municipalities and power companies, the legal team for the following lost in court for the same attempted regulations the City of Hudson is now trying:

    City and County of San Francisco, the City of Chicago; the City of Las Vegas; the City of Philadelphia; City of San Jose; the City of Santa Monica; the County of Los Angeles; and so on.

    Do we think we stand a better chance than that list of plaintiffs did? Is everyone here smoking crack?!