Posted by: Patricia Salkin | May 14, 2016

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Holds County’s Outside Storage Ordinances Did Not Violate Dormant Commerce Clause and Upholds Dismissal of First Amendment, Equal Protection and Due Process Claims

Property owner Schnieder, acting pro se, filed a § 1983 action against Amador County, the county’s code enforcement officer, and the county counsel alleging that county’s enforcement of its outside storage ordinances violated his constitutional rights and state law. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, dismissed the complaint, and the owner appealed.

Upon review of Schneider’s claims, the court found that the district court properly dismissed Schneider’s equal protection and procedural due process claims as unripe because they were not yet fit for judicial review and the hardship to Schneider was relatively minor. The court also found that the district court properly dismissed Schneider’s First Amendment retaliation claim as barred by the statute of limitations because Schneider filed his action more than two years after his claims accrued and Schneider did not show any basis for equitable estoppel. Next, the court upheld the district court’s dismissal of Schneider’s other First Amendment claims because Schneider failed to allege facts sufficient to show that the ordinances were unconstitutional as applied to him, impermissible restrictions on expressive conduct, or unconstitutionally vague or overbroad.

The court also affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Schneider’s dormant Commerce Clause claim because Schneider failed to allege facts sufficient to show that the ordinances had a significant impact on interstate commerce, and the dismissal of Schneider’s state law claims because Schneider failed to allege facts sufficient to show that he properly exhausted his claims. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Schneider leave to amend because amendment would have been futile.

Schneider v Amador County, 629 Fed. Appx. 788 (9th Cir. CA 10/29/2015)


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