United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
GIBSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Borough of Meyersdale's
(the "Borough") Motion to Dismiss Under F.R.C.P.
12(b)(6) (ECF No. 6). Plaintiff Connie Iman failed to file a
response to the Motion within the 21-day response period.
Thus, the Borough's Motion is ripe for disposition.
reasons that follow, the Borough's Motion is GRANTED IN
PART and DENIED IN PART.
Jurisdiction and Venue
Iman brings two federal claims over which this Court has
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and
is proper in the Western District of Pennsylvania under 28
U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2) as a substantial portion of the
events and omissions giving rise to Ms. Iman's claims
occurred in this District and the property that is the
subject of this action is situated in this District.
August 21, 2013, Ms. Iman purchased real property located at
306 Main Street, Meyersdale, Pennsylvania (the "Subject
Property"). (ECF No. 1 ¶ 8.) The Subject Property
was destroyed by a fire on April 29, 2015. (Id.
April 30, 2015, a Borough Councilwoman approached Ms. Iman
and offered to purchase the Subject Property for $6, 000.
(Id. ¶ 10.)
on November 8, 2016, the Borough passed Resolution 12-2016
authorizing the taking of the Subject Property. (Id.
¶ 11.) The stated purpose of the Resolution was to
eliminate blight in the Borough and create a public park.
(Id. ¶ 12.)
December 29, 2016, the Borough advised Ms. Iman that if she
failed to provide a reasonable request for the purchase of
the Subject Property, the Borough would proceed with an
eminent-domain action. (Id. ¶ 13.) In response,
Ms. Iman gave the Borough a list detailing the $36, 479.23 in
expenses she incurred in purchasing the Subject Property and
improving it after the fire. (Id. ¶ 14.) The
Borough "unjustly" rejected Ms. Iman's
reasonable request for these expenses and filed a Declaration
of Taking of the Subject Property on April 7, 2017, in the
Somerset County Court of Common Pleas. (Id.
¶¶ 15-16.) Ms. Iman filed Preliminary Objections to
the Declaration, and the Borough responded by filing an
Amended Declaration of Taking. (Id. ¶¶
18-19.) The Court of Common Pleas overruled the Preliminary
Objections and appointed a Board of Viewers. (W.¶¶
January 18, 2019, Ms. Iman and the Borough agreed upon a
monetary settlement in the amount of $5, 000. (Id.
¶ 23.) In the settlement agreement (the
"Settlement"), Ms. Iman reserved the right to file
a federal civil-rights action related to the Borough's
exercise of its eminent-domain power. (Id.)
Iman alleges that $5, 000 does not represent just
compensation for the taking of her property. (Id.
¶ 24.) Further, she believes that the Borough
intentionally treated her differently than similarly situated
property owners without a rational basis for this
differential treatment. (Id. ¶ 26.) She also
alleges that the Borough's actions were not supported by
a legitimate purpose and were motivated by animosity toward
her. (Id. ¶ 27.)
March 6, 2019, Ms. Iman filed her Complaint (ECF No. 1). In
the Complaint, she brings two counts against the Borough
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Id.) In Count
I-Unlawful Taking, Ms. Iman claims that the Borough's
taking of the Subject Property was not rationally related to
a conceivable public purpose and that the Borough did not pay
her just compensation for the taking of the Subject Property,
in violation of the Takings Clause of the United States
Constitution. (Id. ¶¶ 30-31.) In Count
II-Equal Protection-Class of One, Ms. Iman claims that there
was no rational basis for the difference in treatment between
her and other similarly situated property owners.
(Id. ¶ 36.)
Borough filed its Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 6) and brief in
support (ECF No. 7) on May 7, 2019.
the Borough argues that the case is moot because Ms. Iman has
already been made whole under Pennsylvania eminent-domain
law. (ECF No. 6 ¶ 39.)
the Borough asserts that the doctrine of claim preclusion
prohibits this Court from reconsidering issues that were
addressed by the Somerset County Court of Common Pleas.
(Id. at 5.)
the Borough seeks to dismiss Count I because Ms. Iman
received the maximum amount allowed by law for the taking of
her property, and the Borough took Ms. Iman's property
for a conceivable public purpose-the creation of a public
park. (Id. at 4-5.)
the Borough seeks dismissal of Count II because Ms. Iman does
not plausibly allege the existence of similarly situated
property owners or that she was treated differently than
those owners. (ECF No. 6 ¶¶ 31-32, 35.)
Iman did not file a response to the Borough's Motion
within this Court's 21-day response period. IV. Legal
Standard A. Motion to ...