This blog features case law related to real estate, land use, zoning, and municipal law in Pennsylvania

Tag: Third Circuit

Qualified Immunity Protects Officials From Retaliation Claims Based On Threats To Third Parties To Withdraw Political Support

Zaloga owned and operated a medical company that provided contracted services to correctional facilities. Upset over the handling of a dispute with a tire company located adjacent to his home, Zolaga launched political attacks against the Borough Council President and Mayor publically opposing their reelections. About a month after launching these attacks, Zaloga was notified that the County would not continue its contractual arrangement with Zolaga’s company after its current contract expired, but that it could compete with other providers for a new contract.  Zolaga’s attorney informed him however, that according to conversations with Lackawanna County Prison Board members the Council President and Mayor were attempting to block his contract renewal due to his persistent opposition to their decisions regarding the tire facility. Ultimately however, the County unanimously voted to award the contract to Zolaga’s company.  Zolaga then filed a complaint against the Borough of Moosic, the Borough Council, the Borough’s planning commission and zoning board, and various Borough officers alleging violations of his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants moved for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity, which the District Court granted for all defendants except the Borough President. His assertion of qualified immunity, the Court concluded, hinged upon fact questions that would need to be settled by a jury. The Council President appealed.

Continue reading

Third Circuit Holds Economic Harm to Shopping Center Development Insufficient to Trigger NEPA Protection

This dispute involves a challenge to plans by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to improve State Route 222. The Third Circuit was asked to determine whether an economic injury alone falls within the “zone of interests” protected by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Third Circuit affirmed the lower court’s ruling and dismissed the case, holding that economic injury alone does not support standing under NEPA. The court also affirmed the lower court’s decision to deny these plaintiffs an opportunity to amend their complaint because the allegations they sought to add still failed to establish standing.

Continue reading

FHA Accessibility Requirements Do Not Apply to Buildings Constructed Prior to March 1991

In this case, the Third Circuit was asked to determine whether the design and accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) apply to commercial buildings constructed prior to March 1991—the effective date of the requirements—but converted to residential use after that date. In affirming the lower court’s dismissal, the Third Circuit found that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) interpretation that the FHA requirements only apply to buildings constructed after March 1991 was reasonable.

Continue reading