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Cornell Cos. v. Borough of New Morgan

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

May 31, 2007, Decided ; May 31, 2007, Filed; May 31, 2007, Entered

CIVIL ACTION NO. 06-4113

Opinion

 [*249]  Stengel, J.

May 31, 2007

Cornell Companies, Inc. provides correction, treatment, and rehabilitation services for juveniles who have been adjudicated delinquent. The New Morgan Academy is a secure care facility for juvenile offenders owned and operated by Cornell in the Borough of New Morgan. The Academy opened in 2000, but closed [**2]  in 2002 because of some operational and administrative difficulties. Cornell is trying to re-open the New Morgan facility, but the Borough is now opposed. In this lawsuit, Cornell claims that the Borough, its council, and various public officials have engaged in a course of improper acts and unconstitutional behavior in an attempt to prevent the Academy from reopening. The defendants argue that Cornell's claims are unripe, unmeritorious, barred under various immunity doctrines, or not specific enough. The Borough contends that Cornell is trying to circumvent the local zoning process with its federal complaint. The defendants have filed several motions to dismiss Cornell's complaint. For the reasons set forth below, I will grant the motions in part and deny them in part.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Background

A. Initial Opening of New Morgan Academy

B. Sewage Facilities Agreement and Maintenance Agreement

C. Cornell's Attempt to Reopen and the Defendants' Interference

D. Defendants' Promotion of Third Parties' Interests

II. Procedural History

III. Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss Standard

IV. Discussion of Borough Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

A. Plaintiff's Constitutional Claims

1. Ripeness

a. Substantive Due Process

i. Facial Challenge to Ordinance

ii. Course of Conduct Claim

b. Equal Protection Claim

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512 F. Supp. 2d 238 *; 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39646 **

CORNELL COMPANIES, INC., Plaintiff, v. BOROUGH OF NEW MORGAN, et al., Defendants.

CORE TERMS

defendants', zoning, ripe, alleges, zoning ordinance, motion to dismiss, sewage, immunity, disability, ordinance, promise, reopening, Concrete, tortious interference, public official, substantive due process, licenses, promissory estoppel, deprived, defamation, discovery, constitutional claim, facial challenge, course of conduct, facial, prospective contractual relation, substantive due process claim, defamation claim, estoppel claim, entity

Civil Procedure, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Civil Rights Law, Elements, Color of State Law, General Overview, Section 1983 Actions, Protected Rights, Justiciability, Ripeness, Rationale for Ripeness, Constitutional Law, Substantive Due Process, Scope, Business & Corporate Compliance, Real Property Law, Zoning, Constitutional Limits, Equal Protection, Nature & Scope of Protection, Fundamental Rights, Procedural Due Process, Governments, Legislation, Real Property Law, Protection of Disabled Persons, Americans With Disabilities Act, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Enforcement Actions, Breach, Breach of Contract Actions, Elements of Contract Claims, Contracts Law, Types of Contracts, Quasi Contracts, Pleadings, Complaints, Contracts Law, Contract Formation, Consideration, Promissory Estoppel, Variances, Ordinances, Requirements for Complaint, Discovery & Disclosure, Torts, Contracts, Intentional Interference, Elements, Defamation, Intentional Torts, Defamation Per Se, Protection of Rights, Immunity From Liability, Legislative Functions, Public Entity Liability, Immunities, Absolute Immunity, Local Governments, Claims By & Against, Employees & Officials, Defenses, Privileges, Absolute Privileges, Liability, State Tort Claims Acts, Employees