Posted by: Patricia Salkin | September 13, 2014

Fed. Dist. Court in OK Dismisses Due Process Claims for Lack of Ripeness for Mobil Home Development

The court reviewed Defendant City of Grove’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Dismissal. Plaintiff, real estate investor who owned and developed mobile home parks, alleged five counts in his complaint: (1) that he was retaliated against for exercising his right to free speech in violation of the First Amendment, (2) that a municipal code provision violates his right to substantive and procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, (3) that a municipal code provision violates his right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, (4) that a municipal code provision violates the Due Process Clause of the Oklahoma Constitution, and (5) that a municipal code provision violates the laws of the State of Oklahoma.

The court began its analysis by stating Plaintiff’s complaint was not ripe since the Plaintiff had not received a final decision regarding his proposed mobile home development. Furthermore, Plaintiff had not even applied for a permit for his development, as plaintiff has not sought the approval of the Planning Commission, a prerequisite to applying for a permit. Next, the court found the Plaintiff’s First Amendment claim to lack merit under the Worrell test, which sets forth the requisites for First Amendment retaliation claims in the Tenth Circuit: (1) that the plaintiff was engaged in constitutionally protected activity; (2) that the defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff to suffer an injury that would chill a person of ordinary firmness from continuing to engage in that activity; and (3) that the defendant’s adverse action was substantially motivated as a response to the plaintiff’s exercise of constitutionally protected conduct. The retaliation claims failed because the court found that there were no facts tending to establish that the retaliatory actions were substantially motivated as a response to the plaintiff’s exercise of his free speech rights. As to Plaintiff’s State law claims, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction. Accordingly the court granted the City’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

Warden v City of Grove, 2014 WL 4244294 (N.D. OK 8/26/2014)


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