Friday, April 03, 2015

Hasidic Jewish Property Owners State Claim Against City For Discriminatory Decision To Condemn Buildings

In Shkedi v. City of Scranton, (MD PA, April 1, 2015),  a Pennsylvania federal district court rejected a motion by the city of Scranton and its housing officials to dismiss a civil rights suit filed against them.  Plaintiffs who are the trustees of two trusts that own apartment buildings allege that the city's decision to condemn their buildings for code violations was motivated in part by the fact that defendants are practicing Hasidic Jews.  In concluding that plaintiffs had adequately stated a substantive due process claim, the court said that if defendants' action was motivated by plaintiffs' religion and ethnicity, this would amount to "conscience-shocking behavior." The court also concluded that plaintiffs had stated procedural due process, equal protection and retaliation claims.