Posted by: Patricia Salkin | June 30, 2021

Fed. Dist. Court of IL Determines Recylcing Facility’s Takings Claim was Unripe

 This post was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

Plaintiffs General III, LLC d/b/a Southwest Recycling and RMG Investment Group, LLC filed this lawsuit against Defendants City of Chicago and Dr. Allison Arwady in her official capacity as the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, regarding the desired issuance of an operating permit that would allow Plaintiffs to operate a large recycling facility known as Southside Recycling (“SR”). Plaintiffs alleged that they had made an $80 million investment in the facility and completed a rigorous, two-year zoning, rulemaking, and permitting review process. Plaintiffs further contended that they complied with every City requirement necessary to be granted the permit they sought. Nevertheless, a final decision on the permit had not been made, due to Defendants’ accession to a May 7, 2021 request from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) asking the City to halt its review of SR’s permit application so that additional environmental justice analysis. In their Complaint, Plaintiffs claimed that they were suffering irreparable harm and significant financial damage and requested that the court issue a writ of mandamus directing Defendants to issue the operating permit pursuant.

At the outset, the court found that it lacked jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ sole claim within the Court’s original jurisdiction: a takings claim under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Specifically, the court determined claim was not ripe because Defendants had not rendered a final decision on Plaintiffs’ permit application. The record reflected that Defendants’ description of the current status confirmed the absence of a final determination as, according to the City, further review was being conducted as a result of “high-level federal concerns based on concepts of environmental justice.” The court further noted that it had not even been two months since Defendants suspended their permit review to allow for additional evaluations in response to the request of the federal authorities. Based on the aforementioned, the court held that Plaintiffs’ claim under the Takings Clause was not yet ripe – and may never be if Defendants ultimately issue the requested permit.

General III, LLC v City of Chicago, 2021 WL 266194 (ND IL 6/29/2021)

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