The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has revised Section 1.13 of its rules to allow (and in certain circumstances, require) parties to give the FCC notice of lawsuits by email. First, it revised Section 1.13(a)(1) to change the procedure by which a party petitioning for review of a decision under 47 U.S.C. § 402(a) must notify the FCC in order to take advantage of the random selection procedures. The Communications Act provides for a lottery to select a court when parties have petitioned for review of the same FCC decision in more than one court, provided that petitioners serve a copy of the petitions for review on the agency within ten days of issuance of the order under review. The FCC has established rules directing petitioners to make service in person at the agency’s Office of General Counsel to ensure timely notice of the petition for review. However, that method of service is not easily reconciled with the security protocols that currently apply to other filings. As such, the Commission has revised its rule to require service by email.
The FCC has also revised its rules to authorize—but not require—email notice of lawsuits against the Commission under 47 U.S.C. § 402(b). Specifically, it revised section 1.13(b) of its rules, which applies to parties appealing certain licensing-related FCC actions under 47 U.S.C. § 402(b), to authorize and encourage service of notices of appeal on the General Counsel by email. Because notices of appeal under section 402(b) are not as time-sensitive as for lottery proceedings discussed above, parties may use non-electronic means of service, such as U.S. mail, as permitted by the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and any applicable local rules.