Second Circuit Dismisses Equal Protection and Retaliation Claims From Recreational Club

Plaintiff is a recreational club located on 116 acres in Defendant Village of Mamoroneck. The full details of the case can be found in lower court’s decision at 2016 WL 1181727.  On appeal, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, by summary order, the decision of the Southern District of New York to dismiss the Plaintiff’s selective prosecution, equal protection, and retaliation claims.

The Second Circuit held that the lower court properly dismissed the selective enforcement claim made by Hampshire Recreation LLC (“Hampshire”) because it was not similarly situated to its alleged comparators. Specifically, the Court noted that Hampshire was subject to different zoning regulations than the three alleged comparators, and that it initially did not have a Special Permit.  The Court found that these facts “explain why it is not entitled to equal treatment with respect to its property use.” 

This issue of inapposite comparators was also cited as a basis to uphold the dismissal of Hampshire’s Equal Protection claim.  However, in dismissing this claim, the Court wrote that “[e]ven if Hampshire were able to establish a class of similarly situated comparators, the District Court offers numerous reasons why the Village's decision to award a probationary permit was not discriminatory under both ‘selection enforcement’ and ‘class-of-one’ theories.”

Finally, with respect to Hampshire’s retaliation claim, the Court agreed that the violation notice was too remote from the Village’s enforcement actions (the only plausible retaliatory conduct) based on the 18 month gap between said enforcement actions and Hampshire’s protected speech.  As such, the Court affirmed that Hampshire could not sustain a retaliation claim under the First Amendment.

The case was Hampshire Recreation, LLC  v Village of Mamaroneck, 664 Fed.Appx. 98 (2d Cir. 2016).  Please note that as a summary order, this decision does NOT have precedential effect.

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