Posted by: Patricia Salkin | May 4, 2016

Fed. Dist. Court in FL Dismisses Inverse Condemnation and Equal Protection Claims

Plaintiff, Pirate’s Cove, brought a second amended complaint containing counts for denial of equal protection under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (Count III), temporary taking as an alternative to Count IX (Count IV), declaratory judgment (Count VI), and inverse condemnation (Count IX). The County sought to dismiss with prejudice Plaintiff’s claims for denial of equal protection (Count III), temporary taking (Count IV), and inverse condemnation (Count IX).

Plaintiff first asserted an equal protection claim based on the alleged differential treatment of Pirate’s Cove from that of comparators Margueritagrill and Riverside Resort. Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that Pirate’s Cove was subjected to rigorous enforcement of County rules, ordinances, regulations, and policies, while the comparators were not subjected to similarly rigorous enforcement. While the additional facts demonstrated that these properties were similar in some respects, Plaintiff still failed to demonstrate that the properties were “prima facie identical in all relevant respects.” Thus, Plaintiff’s equal protection claim was dismissed.

Plaintiff also asserted a claim for inverse condemnation under Florida law for the alleged taking of his property rights. Plaintiff argued that the County intentionally delayed the development of his project in several respects to such an extent that it amounted to a temporary taking of his property to which he was entitled to just compensation. However, the court found that the Plaintiff had not demonstrated a final decision by the County because no actual decision was ever made by the County. Because there was no decision made by the County adverse to Plaintiff, and Plaintiff’s complaints merely went to the delays caused by the County’s conduct, Plaintiff had not satisfied the ripeness requirement by demonstrating that there was a final decision. Additionally, as required to establish extraordinary delay, Plaintiff neither alleged nor demonstrated that the County acted in bad faith. The court therefore granted the motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s second amended complaint.

Decker v. Citrus County, 2016 WL 1627109 (MD FL 4/25/2016)

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