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Released: March 13, 2014

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-348

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
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CruiseEmail
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File No.: EB-SED-13-000094641
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NAL/Acct. No.: 201032100030
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FRN: 0006501092

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Adopted:

March 13, 2014
Released: March 13, 2014
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
We dismiss CruiseEmail’s late-filed Petition2 seeking reconsideration of a Forfeiture
Order,3 which assessed a forfeiture of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) on the company for willfully and
repeatedly violating Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act), and Section
1.903(a) of the Commission’s rules (Rules).4 The violations, which are undisputed, involved
CruiseEmail’s operation of three Public Coast Stations at locations other than their licensed locations
without prior Commission authorization.5 Further, as explained below, even if the Petition were timely
filed, we find no basis for reconsidering the Forfeiture Order. We therefore affirm the Forfeiture Order.

II.

BACKGROUND

2.
On June 11, 2010, the Enforcement Bureau’s Spectrum Enforcement Division (Division)
issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) of $15,000 against CruiseEmail for its apparent
willful and repeated violations of Section 301 of the Act and Section 1.903(a) of the Rules.6 Pursuant to

1 The investigation was initiated under File No. EB-09-SE-066 and subsequently assigned File No. EB-SED-13-
00009464. Any future correspondence with the Commission concerning this matter should reflect the new case
number.
2 See Letter from Dr. John Gregory, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), CruiseEmail, to Nissa Laughner, Attorney
Advisor, Spectrum Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau (filed Mar. 18, 2013) (on file in EB-SED-13-
00009464) (Petition).
3 CruiseEmail, Forfeiture Order, 28 FCC Rcd 1075 (Enf. Bur. 2013) (Forfeiture Order).
4 47 U.S.C. § 301; 47 C.F.R. § 1.903(a).
5 Public Coast Stations are an integral part of the Maritime Services and traditionally have served the maritime
community as commercial mobile radio service providers, permitting ships to send and receive messages and to
interconnect with the public switched telephone network. See Coast Radio Stations, FCC,
http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=service_home&id=coast_stations (last updated Feb. 11, 2009). The
three public coast stations at issue in this proceeding were KDS, Olympia, Washington; WGM, Fort Lauderdale,
Florida; and WHX, Pocomoke, Maryland.
6 See CruiseEmail, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, 25 FCC Rcd 7386 (Enf. Bur. 2010). The NAL
includes a more complete recitation of the facts and history of this case and is incorporated herein by reference.

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-348

CruiseEmail’s request, the Division granted a 60-day extension of the deadline for filing a response to the
NAL.7 CruiseEmail, however, neither filed an NAL response nor paid the $15,000 forfeiture. As a result,
on February 7, 2013, the Division issued a Forfeiture Order against CruiseEmail for the full forfeiture
amount.8 On the date of release, the Division published the Forfeiture Order in the Commission’s Daily
Digest;9 mailed a copy of the Forfeiture Order to CruiseEmail via First Class Mail, return receipt
requested; and e-mailed a copy of the Forfeiture Order to CruiseEmail, thus notifying CruiseEmail of the
30-day response deadline for filing a petition for reconsideration.10
3.
On or before February 11, 2013, CruiseEmail contacted Division staff to request copies
of all documents that it had previously filed with the Division.11 CruiseEmail noted that its request was
for the purpose of preparing a petition for reconsideration. On February 20, 2013, the Division sent
CruiseEmail the various record information requested, including a copy of its response to the Division’s
Letter of Inquiry, a copy of the NAL, and a copy of the Forfeiture Order.12 The Division also reminded
CruiseEmail of the March 11, 2013 filing deadline for the petition.13 On February 21, 2013, CruiseEmail
asked the Division for a copy of other “letters” that the company had previously submitted to the
Division,14 and the Division forwarded them to CruiseEmail on February 21, and 27, 2013.15
4.
On March 8, 2013, CruiseEmail requested a 45-day extension of the March 11, 2013
filing deadline, asserting that an extension was necessary due to its loss of power (including phone and
internet service) during the preceding four days and also because CruiseEmail believed that “two major
documents [were] missing,” though it did not specify which two documents.16 In response, the Division

7 See E-mail from Dr. John Gregory, CEO, CruiseEmail, to Nissa Laughner, Attorney Advisor, Spectrum
Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau (July 12, 2010, 11:45 DST) (on file in EB-SED-13-00009464).
8 See supra note 3.
9 See Daily Digest, Vol. 32, No. 26 (Feb. 7, 2013), FCC, http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_
Digest/2013/dd130207.html.
10 See E-mail from Nissa Laughner, Attorney Advisor, Spectrum Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau,
to Dr. John Gregory, CEO, CruiseEmail (Feb. 7, 2013, 16:29 EST) (on file in EB-SED-13-00009464) (Division Feb.
7, 2013 E-mail). The mailing was returned unopened to the Commission on March 1, 2013. On January 9, 2013,
CruiseEmail changed the contact information for its licenses on the Wireless Bureau’s Universal Licensing System.
However, the Division sent the Forfeiture Order to the address it had on file and continued to correspond with
CruiseEmail using the e-mail address to which the Forfeiture Order had been sent until February 21, 2013, when
CruiseEmail notified the Division of the change of address.
11 CruiseEmail requested documents that it should have maintained as part of its record concerning this case.
12 See E-mail from Nissa Laughner, Attorney Advisor, Spectrum Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau,
to Dr. John Gregory, CEO, CruiseEmail (Feb. 20, 2013, 16:16 EST) (on file in EB-SED-13-00009464) (Division
Feb. 20, 2013 E-mail).
13 See id.
14 See E-mail from Dr. John Gregory, CEO, CruiseEmail, to Nissa Laughner, Attorney Advisor, Spectrum
Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau (Feb. 21, 2013, 9:12 EST) (on file in EB-SED-13-00009464). The
Division interpreted CruiseEmail’s reference to “letters” as the prior correspondence between CruiseEmail and the
Division related to this investigation.
15 See E-mails from Nissa Laughner, Attorney Advisor, Spectrum Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau,
to Dr. John Gregory, CEO, CruiseEmail (Feb. 21, 2013, 9:59 EST; Feb.27, 2013, 11:37 EST, 11:38 EST, 11:39
EST) (on file in EB-SED-13-00009464). The additional correspondence primarily consisted of e-mails relating to
deadlines, prospective meetings with Division staff, and other administrative issues.
16 See E-mail from Dr. John Gregory, CEO, CruiseEmail, to Nissa Laughner, Attorney Advisor, Spectrum
Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau (Mar. 8, 2013, 10:01 EST) (on file in EB-SED-13-00009464).
CruiseEmail did not otherwise identify or describe these documents.
2

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DA 14-348

informed CruiseEmail that, in general, the Division lacked discretionary authority to extend the deadline
for filing petitions for reconsideration and, thus, the Commission needed to receive any petition that
CruiseEmail intended to file by the March 11, 2013 deadline.17 The Division further informed
CruiseEmail that, if necessary, it could subsequently file a supplement to a timely petition (if one were
filed) that the Division would then consider accepting in due course.18 CruiseEmail filed its Petition on
March 18, 2013, seven days after the March 11, 2013 deadline.19

III.

DISCUSSION

5.
Section 405(a) of the Act, as implemented by Section 1.106(f) of the Rules, requires a
petitioner to file its petition for reconsideration within 30 days of public notice of Commission action.20
For non-rulemaking documents released by the Commission, such as the Forfeiture Order issued in this
proceeding, public notice occurs upon the date of its release—i.e., February 7, 2013.21 Thus, as the Division
repeatedly informed CruiseEmail, the statutory deadline for filing a petition for reconsideration of the
Forfeiture Order was March 11, 2013.22 Because CruiseEmail filed its Petition after the expiration of this
statutory deadline, the statute requires us to dismiss it.23
6.
In so holding, we find that the Commission’s narrow discretionary authority to waive or
extend the statutory deadline in circumstances involving procedural unfairness is not applicable here.
This exception, as articulated by the United States District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, covers
situations in which the Commission’s failure to provide timely personal notice of the pending action is in
“substantial measure” the cause of the untimeliness of the petition.24 To show causation, the petitioner
must show that upon receiving actual notice, it was “impossible reasonably” to file the petition within the
time remaining and that the petition (or request for extension) was filed promptly thereafter.25

17 See E-mail from Nissa Laughner, Attorney Advisor, Spectrum Enforcement Division, FCC Enforcement Bureau,
to Dr. John Gregory, CEO, CruiseEmail (Mar. 8, 2013, 13:34 EST) (on file in EB-SED-13-00009464) (Division
Mar. 8, 2013 E-mail). The Division recommended that CruiseEmail send its response by overnight mail to ensure a
timely filing. See id.
18 See id.; see also 47 C.F.R. § 1.106(f) (The Commission may consider late-filed supplements to timely-filed
petitions for reconsideration “upon leave granted upon a separate pleading for leave to file, which shall state the
grounds therefor”).
19 CruiseEmail’s Petition, although dated March 9, 2013 and postmarked March 11, 2013, was not stamped as
received by the Office of the Secretary until March 18, 2013. For purposes of computing time, “[t]he Secretary’s
date stamp is authoritative and conclusive.” Richardson Indep. Sch. Dist., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 5 FCC
Rcd 3135, 3136, para. 9 (1990) (dismissing petitions and motions for leave to late-file a petition for reconsideration
because they were, according to the Secretary’s date-stamp, one day late; and noting that “the Commission is
without authority to extend or waive the statutory 30-day filing period for petitions for reconsideration, even if the
petition is filed only one day late”).
20 47 U.S.C. § 405(a); 47 C.F.R. § 1.106(f) (“petition[s] for reconsideration and any supplement[s] thereto shall be
filed within 30 days from the date of public notice of the final Commission action, as that date is defined in [Section
1.4(b) of the Rules]”); see also 47 C.F.R. § 1.4(b) (computation of time for Commission-related deadlines).
21See 47 C.F.R. § 1.4(b)(2).
22 See Division Feb. 7, 2013 E-mail; Division Feb. 20, 2013 E-mail; Division Mar. 8, 2013 E-mail.
23 See supra note 20.
24 Gardner v. FCC, 530 F.2d 1086, 1091 (D.C. Cir. 1976) (Gardner).
25 Id. at 1092 n.24 (limiting Commission discretionary authority to situations where a petitioner can show “(a) when
and how he received notice in fact, (b) that the time remaining was inadequate to allow him reasonably to meet the
30-day requirement (from date of issuance) of [Section 405 of the Act], and (c) that he moved for reconsideration
3

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DA 14-348

7.
CruiseEmail has not argued—nor could it successfully argue—that any defect in serving
the Forfeiture Order caused the untimeliness of its Petition. As discussed above, CruiseEmail had 30
days to file a petition for reconsideration. CruiseEmail contacted the Division within two business days
of release of the Forfeiture Order and expressed its intention to file a response thereto. CruiseEmail’s
last-minute extension request—received one business day prior to the statutory deadline—forestalls any
finding that CruiseEmail promptly moved for reconsideration after receiving actual notice. Finally,
CruiseEmail’s purported bases for filing late (i.e., a four-day loss of power immediately preceding its
extension request and its need to obtain and review copies of its prior filings) do not otherwise show
procedural unfairness warranting extension of the statutory deadline.26
8.
Even if we could accept CruiseEmail’s late-filed Petition, its failure to raise material error
or new (or previously unavailable) evidence precludes us from considering it.27 In its Petition,
CruiseEmail argues that the Division’s assessment of forfeiture liability with respect to Station WGM28 is
inequitable because CruiseEmail complied with a prior Wireless Bureau directive to file an application to
amend the station’s license to reflect its new operating location.29 The Division’s Forfeiture Order,
however, imposed liability for the station’s relocation and subsequent operation for approximately four
years prior to the filing of the amendment application.30 Neither the amendment nor the Wireless

promptly on receiving actual notice”); see also Reuters Ltd. v. FCC, 781 F.2d 946, 952 (D.C. Cir. 1986)
(emphasizing that the Gardner court limited its holding to the “highly unusual circumstances presented there” and
the prompt filing of the petition after receipt of informal notice).
26 See, e.g., Motion of AT&T Corp. to be Reclassified as a Non–Dominant Carrier, Order on Reconsideration, Order
Denying Petition for Rulemaking, Second Order on Reconsideration, 12 FCC Rcd 20787, 20809–10, para. 44 (1997)
(dismissing late-filed petition despite arguments that the delay was caused, in part, by a blizzard in Washington,
D.C.); Adelphia Commc’ns Corp., Order, 12 FCC Rcd 10759, 10761 n.13 (1997) (denying extension of time to file a
petition where delay was caused by the petitioner’s inability to obtain a copy of the Commission’s Rules of Practice
and Procedure). Furthermore, the Division informed CruiseEmail that, as an option, it could subsequently file a
supplement to its timely petition that the Division would then consider accepting in due course. CruiseEmail chose
not to pursue this option.
27 See 47 C.F.R § 1.106(c)–(d). See also, e.g., EZ Sacramento, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 15 FCC Rcd
18257, 18257, para. 2 (Enf. Bur. 2000) (“Reconsideration is appropriate only where the petitioner either shows a
material error or omission in the original order or raises additional facts not known or not existing until after the
petitioner’s last opportunity to present such matters.”).
28 In its Petition, CruiseEmail states: “There is not any issues [sic] at the two stations KDS, or WHX.” See Petition
at 2. We view this as an implicit acknowledgement of liability with respect to the operation of these two stations at
unauthorized locations during the timeframes specified in the NAL.
29 See id. On April 23, 2008, the Wireless Bureau sent a letter to CruiseEmail requesting construction and
operational status for its stations. See Letter from Scott Stone, Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, FCC Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau, to Dr. John Gregory, CruiseEmail (Apr. 23, 2008), attached to License WGM. In its
response, CruiseEmail indicated that it had relocated all three stations at various times between 2004 and 2008. See
Letter from Dr. John Gregory, CEO, CruiseEmail, to Scott Stone, Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, FCC Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau (May 30, 2008), attached to License WGM. On March 27, 2009, the Wireless Bureau
sent a follow-up letter to CruiseEmail directing the company to file applications to amend its licenses to reflect new
operating locations and informing CruiseEmail that it was referring the matter to the Enforcement Bureau for
investigation and possible sanction. See Letter from Scott Stone, Deputy Chief, Mobility Division, FCC Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau, to Dr. John Gregory, CruiseEmail (Mar. 27, 2009), attached to License WGM.
CruiseEmail subsequently filed applications to modify its licenses to reflect the new operating locations. See File
Nos. 0003890798 (KDS) (granted Aug. 12, 2009), 0003889330 (WGM) (granted Aug. 25, 2009), 0003890009
(WHX) (granted Sept. 9, 2009).
30 See File No. 0003889330 (filed July 1, 2009, granted Aug. 25, 2009); see also NAL, 25 FCC Rcd at 7387, para. 3
(noting CruiseEmail’s statement that, in 2005, it moved Station WGM from its licensed location in Lake Placid,
Florida, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after the Lake Placid station had been destroyed by three major hurricanes).
4

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DA 14-348

Bureau’s formal or informal advice authorizes such unauthorized operation retroactively,31 and thus, we
find no material error in the Division’s assessment of forfeiture liability for such operation.
9.
For the reasons set forth above, we hold that the Bureau lacks the authority to accept
CruiseEmail’s late-filed Petition. Furthermore, even if the Bureau could accept the late-filed Petition, the
arguments therein do not provide any basis for reconsideration of the forfeiture. We therefore dismiss
CruiseEmail’s late-filed Petition and thereby affirm the Division’s Forfeiture Order in its entirety.32

IV.

ORDERING CLAUSES

10.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED

that, pursuant to Sections 4(i) and 405 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.311, and 1.106 of the Commission’s
rules,33 the Petition for Reconsideration of the Forfeiture Order filed on March 18, 2013 by CruiseEmail
is hereby

DISMISSED

and the Forfeiture Order

IS AFFIRMED

.
11.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Communications
Act of 1934, as amended, and Sections 0.111, 0.311, and 1.80 of the Commission’s rules,34 CruiseEmail

IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE

in the amount of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000)
for willful and repeated violation of Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and
Section 1.903(a) of the Commission’s rules.35
12.
Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner provided for in Section 1.80 of the
Commission’s rules on or before March 31, 2014.36 The case may also be referred to the U.S. Department
of Justice for enforcement of the forfeiture pursuant to Section 504(a) of the Communications Act of
1934, as amended.37 On the date said payment is made, CruiseEmail shall send electronic notification of
payment to Nissa Laughner at Nissa.Laughner@fcc.gov, Daudeline Meme at Daudeline.Meme@fcc.gov,
and Samantha Peoples at Sam.Peoples@fcc.gov.
13.
The payment must be made by check or similar instrument, wire transfer, or credit card,
and must include the NAL/Account Number and FRN referenced above. Regardless of the form of

31 Even if CruiseEmail had erroneously interpreted the Wireless Bureau’s directive as detailing the steps necessary
to ensure retroactive compliance or otherwise relied on informal discussions with the Wireless Bureau, the
Commission has repeatedly held that reliance on informal discussions or decisions by Commission staff does not
mitigate forfeiture liability. See, e.g., Kojo Worldwide Corp., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 24 FCC Rcd
14890, 14895–96, paras. 10–11 (2009) (refusing to mitigate forfeiture liability based on alleged staff promise not to
enforce certain provisions of the Act).
32 We note that had the NAL in this proceeding been issued more recently, the proposed forfeiture would have
reflected a higher upward adjustment based on the extended duration of the violations. See, e.g., Four Corners
Broad., LLC
, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, DA 13-2059, 2013 WL 5780524, at * 2, para. 6
(Enf. Bur. rel. Oct. 25, 2013) (proposing a $13,000 upward adjustment of the $12,000 base forfeiture for operating
three stations at locations other than their authorized locations based on the intentional nature of the violations and
their duration); Emigrant Storage LLC, 27 FCC Rcd 8917, 8920 n.26 (Enf. Bur. 2012) (emphasizing that the
“relative duration of a violation is a critical factor,” as failure to take this factor into consideration when assessing
forfeitures creates “perverse incentives”).
33 47 U.S.C. §§ 154(i), 405; 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.106.
34 47 U.S.C. § 503(b); 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.111, 0.311, 1.80.
35 47 U.S.C. § 301; 47 C.F.R. § 1.903(a).
36 47 C.F.R. § 1.80.
37 47 U.S.C. § 504(a).
5

Federal Communications Commission

DA 14-348

payment, a completed FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must be submitted.38 When completing the
FCC Form 159, enter the Account Number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID) and enter the letters
“FORF” in block number 24A (payment type code). Below are additional instructions CruiseEmail
should follow based on the form of payment CruiseEmail selects:

Payment by check or money order must be made payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission. Such payments (along with the completed Form
159) must be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St.
Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank – Government Lockbox
#979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101.

Payment by wire transfer must be made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank
TREAS/NYC, and Account Number 27000001. To complete the wire transfer and
ensure appropriate crediting of the wired funds, a completed Form 159 must be faxed to
U.S. Bank at (314) 418-4232 on the same business day the wire transfer is initiated.

Payment by credit card must be made by providing the required credit card information
on FCC Form 159 and signing and dating the Form 159 to authorize the credit card
payment. The completed Form 159 must then be mailed to Federal Communications
Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent via overnight mail to
U.S. Bank – Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St.
Louis, MO 63101.
14.
Any request for full payment under an installment plan over time should be sent
to: Chief Financial Officer—Financial Operations, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th
Street, S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington, D.C. 20554.39 If you have questions regarding payment
procedures, please contact the Financial Operations Group Help Desk by phone, 1-877-480-3201, or by
e-mail, ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov.
15.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED

that a copy of this Memorandum Opinion and Order shall
be sent by First Class and Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, to Dr. John S. Gregory, Chief
Executive Officer, CruiseEmail, P.O. Box 95, HC64Box191, Hillsboro, WV 24946.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
P. Michele Ellison
Chief
Enforcement Bureau

38 An FCC Form 159 and detailed instructions for completing the form may be obtained at
http://www.fcc.gov/Forms/Form159/159.pdf.
39 See 47 C.F.R. § 1.1914.
6

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