On January 23, 2012, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the FCC's "shot clock" order, but limited its effect. The order allows providers to file suit in the event that a municipality takes longer than 90 - 150 days to act on cell tower zoning requests. The court said if a municipality has a reasonable excuse for exceeding the shot clock, then the presumption that it acted improperly does not apply, and the courts are able to independently examine the facts, and make a decision as to whether taking more time was actually reasonable.
This is certainly a good case for municipalities. However, it must be noted that the Ninth Circuit has not yet ruled on this matter. We will continue to monitor developments on this issue and provide updates accordingly.