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Squaw Valley Dev. Co. v. Goldberg

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20051
Nos. No. 02-17346, (9th Cir., 07/20/2004)

The Ninth Circuit reversed a lower court decision to find a possible equal protection violation when a state water quality control board's overzealous regulation of a ski resort's water discharges may have been motivated by personal animus, but affirmed the decision on all remaining claims. When the board accused the resort of violating water quality standards, the resort sued the board for equal protection violations, arguing that it was similarly situated to other resorts but treated differently by being singled out for unique regulatory and enforcement treatment. Although the board articulated a rational basis for dealing with the violations through formal enforcement measures, there was a triable issue of fact regarding the board supervisor's justification for the disparate treatment. The court, therefore, reversed the lower court's grant of summary judgment on this issue. However, the lower court decision was affirmed on all remaining claims. Substantive due process claims based on governmental interference with property rights are foreclosed by the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause, and this prohibition extends even to claims that would be unsuccessful takings claims.