February 28th, 2017

Judgment for the Defense – Giuliani v. Springfield Township

Summary Judgment / Civil Rights / Land Use and Zoning

On February 27, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of PA entered summary judgment in favor of Springfield Township (Montgomery County), its Board of Commissioners and numerous elected and appointed officials in a civil rights action brought by industrial property owners for alleged violation of their constitutional rights to due process and equal protection regarding their use of the property, including the leasing of it to multiple tenants without first applying for and securing land development approval from the Township.

Hank Mahoney represented the municipal Defendants in this six year litigation which necessitated the taking of 25 depositions and the exchange of tens of thousands of documents. The Court granted the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, finding no violation of procedural due process; that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine barred a portion of the substantive due process claim and the balance of the due process claim did not meet the stringent “shocks the conscience” standard applied in land use and zoning cases. The Court also found there was no violation of Plaintiffs’ equal protection rights on a “class of one” theory. Finally, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ state law tort claim for intentional interference with contractual relations, finding that Plaintiffs could not establish that the municipal Defendants’ actions in requiring compliance with pertinent ordinances amounted to that tort.

The presiding Judge was the Honorable Thomas N. O’Neill, Jr., S.J. The Court’s Order and 58 page Memorandum may be accessed by clicking on the following pdf attachments: