Posted by: Patricia Salkin | July 8, 2018

Fed. Dist Court of OR Dismisses Due Process and Takings Claims Arising from the Denial of an Application to Subdivide Property

This post was authored by Matthew Loeser, Esq.

Pro se Plaintiff Matthew Brian Vogt brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants following his unsuccessful attempts to subdivide 5.6 acres he owned in the Crooked River Ranch area of Jefferson County, Oregon. Jefferson County’s planning director denied Plaintiff’s development application based primarily on the 10-acre minimum lot requirement. Plaintiff claims that Defendants improperly deprived him of his ability to subdivide his property, violating his constitutional rights to procedural due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

At the outset, the court noted that Plaintiff filed his initial complaint on July 31, 2014. Plaintiff’s claims, which were under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, were subject to Oregon’s two-year statute of limitations for tort claims. As such, Plaintiff’s claim that Defendants did not properly process his development application, preventing him from filing a timely claim under Measure 37, was barred because it accrued no later than August 2008, when Plaintiff sought relief from the Jefferson County Commissioners based on his failure to file a timely Measure 37 claim.

Plaintiff next claimed that in August 2012, Defendant Black “abused his office by false allegations with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office saying that the address was not valid and I had abandoned the property.” However, the court found Plaintiff had no protected property interest at stake in 2012, so his claims that he was denied due process after the foreclosure failed, including his claim that Defendants improperly caused his removal from the property in 2012. Likewise, Plaintiff’s claims against the County failed as Plaintiff failed to show that his constitutional rights were violated. Moreover, even if Plaintiff could show a violation of his constitutional rights, he failed to show that reasonable officials in the defendants’ positions would have known that their actions would violate Plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Accordingly, Defendants Cloutier and Black were protected by qualified immunity.

Vogt v Cloutier, 2018 WL 3317602 (D. OR 4/2/2018)

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