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RATTNER v. BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF PLEASANTVILLE

June 13, 1985

MARSHALL RATTNER, MARSHALL RATTNER, INC., and NATIONAL LIMOUSINE SERVICE, INC., Plaintiffs against BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE VILLAGE OF PLEASANTVILLE, RICHARD KERSTEN, PAUL LOHNER, SYD HUCKVALE, and M. GAIL GRIMALDI, individually and as Trustees of the Village of Pleasantville, THE PLANNING COMMISSION OF THE VILLAGE OF PLEASANTVILLE, TOBA WEISS, Chairwoman, RICHARD W. MURPHY, EDWARD H. PRINCIPE, CHARLES W. COOK, STAN S. MROCZKOWSKI, JOHN BRENTANO, PETER R. BEAVEN, individually and as members of the Planning Commission of the Village of Pleasantville, ROY MC CUTCHEON, individually and as Building Inspector of the Village of Pleasantville, JOHN ST. LEGER, individually and as Village Administrator and Zoning Enforcement Officer of the Village of Pleasantville, CALVIN MANNING, individually and as Chief of Police of the Village of Pleasantville, PATRICK COSTELLO, individually and as a Police Officer of the Village of Pleasantville, JOHN B. FARRINGTON, individually and as Mayor of the Village of Pleasantville, JOHN A. HORN, individually and as former Mayor of the Village of Pleasantville and the INCORPORATED VILLAGE OF PLEASANTVILLE, Defendants


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SWEET

O P I N I O N

SWEET, D.J.

Marshall Rattner, Marshall Rattner, Inc., and National Limousine Service, Inc. ("Rattner") have brought this action against the Board of Trustees of the Village of Pleasantville, the Planning Commission of the Village of Pleasantville, and various persons, in their individual and official capacities, (collectively "Pleasantville") alleging the intentional denial of Rattner's constitutionally protected civil rights. Pleasantville has moved to dismiss or stay this action. The motion to stay is granted.

 Facts

 The facts as alleged by Rattner will be accepted for the purposes of this motion. In this action, based on 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Rattner seeks $2.5 million in compensatory damages, $3 million in punitive damages, and attorneys' fees, for violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process of law and equal protection of the laws; his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment right to just compensation for property taken by government, and for violation of various provisions of the New York Constitution. Rattner alleges that beginning in the fall of 1982 and continuing to the present, Pleasantville, using the authority of elective and appointive office, has engaged in conspiracies to deny Rattner his civil rights. Rattner alleges that Pleasantville:

 (a) in 1983 and 1984, singled out Rattner's employees for selective enforcement of Pleasantville's parking ordinance after using unusual, improper and surreptitious methods to ascertain which cars belonged to Rattner's employees;

 (b) singled out Rattner for selective enforcement of the Pleasantville zoning law and State Building Code by issuing groundless violations against Rattner;

 (c) singled out Rattner for selective enforcement of the Pleasantville tax law by virtually doubling Rattner's property tax assessment in January of 1983;

 (d) singled out Rattner for selective application of the Pleasantville police powers by failing to investigate meaningfully shootings at Rattner's offices and vehicles and attempting to cover up information relevant to the firebombing of Rattner's home on April 25, 1984;

 (e) under false pretenses and without legal authority, harassed Rattner employees and threatened to jail an independent contractor hired by Rattner;

 (f) commenced, in bad faith, frivolous administrative and court proceedings against Rattner, solely to harass and intimidate Rattner;

 (g) pandered to improper political influence in completely ignoring proper planning procedures in arbitrarily obstructing Rattner's legitimate attempts to conduct their limousine business; and

 (h) singled out Rattner for harassment under Pleasantville's vague zoning ordinance, which Pleasantville knew did not prohibit Rattner's activities.

 Rattner alleges that on January 5, 1982 he purchased the premises at 409 Manville Road, Pleasantville, New York, in order to house the offices of his business ventures. Thereafter, Rattner started to operate a limousine service. 409 Manville Road and the neighboring property, 423 Manville Road, are located in an "RO-2" medium density "office district" as defined in Article III of the Zoning Law of The Village of Pleasantville.

 By April 20, 1982, National Limousine Service, Inc. was operating four limousines out of its office at 409 Manville Road. On April 20, 1982, the then building inspector of Pleasantville, Frank C. Hope, issued a Certificate of Occupancy for the premises at 409 Manville Road which certified that the then existing uses of ...


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