U.S. Court of Appeals upholds dismissal of multi-million claim against municipality client

On August 4, 2016, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a civil rights claim seeking multi millions of dollars against a local municipality and its elected officials.

Tucker Industries filed suit against the Borough of East Berlin and its elected officials claiming that its rights to the use and enjoyment of its property was abridged by the acts of the Borough in issuing enforcement orders against Tucker arising out of residents’ complaints of noxious fumes exuberating from the Tucker’s industrial/military coating operations within the Borough.

In affirming the grant of a Motion to Dismiss regarding Tucker’s substantive due process claim, and summary judgment regarding Tucker’s equal protection claim, the Court reiterated that the Federal Court, through a §1983 action is not to be converted into a “super zoning tribunal” and are to be judged utilizing the “shocks the conscience” test.

The Court emphasized that mere allegations that the decision was based upon “personal and political animus” is wholly insufficient to establish this standard, thus, affirming the District Court’s dismissal of the matter.

Ronald Sherr has conducted more than 800 mediations and arbitrations through ADR Options since 2003. He specializes in complex cases in all facets of municipal law, construction law, as well as medical malpractice, products liability, personal injury and other areas of civil law.


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