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Dittmer v. Suffolk, County of

ELR Citation: 28 ELR 21377
Nos. 97-9272, 146 F.3d 113/(2d Cir., 06/04/1998)

The court holds that a district court abused its discretion by abstaining from a case in which landowners challenge, on federal due process and equal protection grounds, a New York land use law restricting development on Long Island. The court first holds that the case did not require abstention on the grounds of deference to state resolution of difficult state-law questions involving local regulation or important matters of local public policy. The landowners raise only federal claims in a challenge to the constitutionality of the statute and its implementing regulations. The landowners have yet to invoke any administrative process under the statute. Moreover, they present a direct facial attack on the constitutionality of a state statute, a controversy federal courts are particularly suited to adjudicate. Further, the landowners' action does not present for federal review an individual determination by state officials pursuant to a constitutional statute. The court next holds that the commonality in subject matter between this case and an analogous state case does not amount to the contemporaneous exercise of concurrent jurisdiction that would require abstention. None of the plaintiffs in this action are involved in the state case, which presents distinctly different facts and predominately state-law claims.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Edward J. Ledogar
Law Offices of Edward J. Ledogar
630 Montauk Hwy., West Islip NY 11795
(516) 422-3344

Counsel for Defendants
James M. Tierney, Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
State Capitol, Albany NY 12224
(518) 474-7330

Before Kearse and Magill,* JJ.