Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 31, 2019

NY Appellate Court Holds Prospective Buyer Did Not Have Sufficient Property Interest in Gravel Mine to Support Takings Clause Violation

This post was authored by Matthew Loeser, Esq.

In this case, a potential buyer of a gravel mine brought an action to challenge a local law that eliminated the operation of sanitary landfills and demolition landfills in town as a use allowed by special use permit. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the Supreme Court denied the buyer’s motion for summary judgment and denied, in part, the Town of Carroll’s motion for summary judgment.

On appeal, defendants argued that the doctrine of estoppel precludes plaintiffs from contending the three remaining causes of action in the amended complaint. The record reflected that although the Jones plaintiffs previously took the position that the causes of action had already been finally determined, that position did not prevail. As such, all of the elements of judicial estoppel were not present in this case.

The court next found that Supreme Court erred in denying defendant’s cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the first cause of action in the complaint, which was based on allegations of a violation of substantive due process. Specifically, the buyer, Sealand, did not yet own the property at issue, but was merely a potential buyer that had an agreement with the Jones plaintiffs providing access to the property to test its suitability for expansion of the landfill on the entire parcel. Sealand’s intention to enter into contract negotiations were contingent on the success of this testing and the permitting processes. Also because of this reason, the court determined that the trial court erred in denying the cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the second cause of action in Sealand’s complaint, which alleged a taking of property without just compensation.

Jones v. Town of Carroll, 110 N.Y.S.3d 766 (NYAD 4 Dept. 11/82019)

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