Appeals Court Won’t Reconsider Challenge To Berkeley Cellphone Warnings Law

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A federal appeals court in San Francisco Wednesday turned down an industry group’s bid for reconsideration of the group’s challenge to a Berkeley cellphone warning law.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to grant a rare rehearing by an 11-judge panel on an appeal by a group known as CTIA-The Wireless Association.

In April, a three-judge panel of the appeals court by a 2-1 vote declined to block the law. The court majority said the warning was “purely factual” and “reasonably related to the health and safety of consumers.”

The city law, which took effect last year, requires retailers to warn cellphone customers that wearing their device next to the body could result in exposure to radiofrequency radiation exceeding federal guidelines.

The message adds, “Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”

Cellphone retailers must either post the message or give a paper copy to people who buy or lease phones.

After losing before the three-judge panel, the cellphone association appealed for a rehearing by an expanded panel, and was turned down Wednesday.

The Washington, D.C.-based association contends there is no evidence that cellphones are harmful. It claims the law violates the free speech rights of retailers by forcing them to provide a message they don’t agree with.

The appeal for reconsideration was submitted to the 29 active judges on the circuit court. The court never reveals the vote on such appeals, but its order today indicated that two judges favored rehearing the case.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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