ELLIOTT GREENLEAF WINS SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN DUE PROCESS CASE

Elliott Greenleaf recently won summary judgment for Wright Township, Luzerne County, and its officials in an action brought by a land developer in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Pursuant to the Township’s successful motion for judgment on the pleadings, the developer’s only remaining claim ripe for summary judgment was that the Township’s failure to apprise the developer—as mortgagee—of the Township’s decision not to issue building or zoning permits to the owners of the subject land deprived the developer of its property interest in the mortgaged property thus depriving the developer of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Elliott Greenleaf argued, and the Court agreed, that no state action prevented the developer from exercising its rights to foreclose or take possession upon default of the mortgage. Therefore, as a matter of law, the developer was not able to prove the first element of a § 1983 procedural due process action: that there was no constitutional due process issue as the Township did not deprive the developer of its property interest. As such, the Court agreed with Elliott Greenleaf’s argument and entered summary judgment in favor of the Township and dismissing the Plaintiff’s complaint.

John G. Dean
and Shanna W. Williamson represented the Township Defendants.