Law School Case Brief
Log Creek, L.L.C. v. Kessler - 717 F. Supp. 2d 1239 (N.D. Fla. 2010)
A plaintiff can assert a class-of-one claim based on a government's selective enforcement of otherwise-valid provisions. To state a claim for selective enforcement, a plaintiff must allege that (1) it was treated differently from similarly situated others; and (2) the defendant unequally applied a facially neutral statute or ordinance for the purpose of discriminating against the plaintiff.
This case arises from a land-use dispute in Wakulla County, Florida. The plaintiffs are out-of-town developers, H. Collins Forman, Jr., and Miles Austin Forman who are residents of Broward County. The Formans organized the other four plaintiffs, all limited liability companies: Log Creek, L.L.C.; Muir Woods, L.L.C.; Big Bend, L.L.C.; and Spring Creek, L.L.C. Each limited liability company bought land in Wakulla County. Each had met difficulties in obtaining the permits or approvals needed to develop its land as it wishes (Log Creek). The defendants are the Wakulla County, Kessler, the chair of the county commission, and two owners of adjoining land (Kessler). Log Creek filed suit asserting that the county violated the Equal Protection Clause by treating Log Creek differently from others, violated their right to procedural due process, and had taken their property without just compensation. Log Creek asserted that the commission chair acted unconstitutionally by moving to rescind a permit and violated the Florida open-meeting law by conducting an improperly-noticed meeting.
Did the developers sufficiently alleged differential treatment without basis?
The district court found that the developers sufficiently alleged differential treatment without a basis, and each alleged facts plausibly supporting the assertion that the real reason for the differential treatment was animus. Kessler had absolute immunity when they revoked the permit. The procedures mandated by the governing state and local law were fully adequate to comply with the Due Process Clause. The developers had failed to initiate an inverse-condemnation proceeding.
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