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Griffin Indus., Inc. v. Irvin

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20230
Nos. No. 06-12370, (11th Cir., 08/21/2007)

The Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded a lower court decision allowing a chicken plant owner's equal protection claims against various state and local officials to go forward. The owner filed a §1983 suit against the officials on the theory that they violated the owner's constitutional right to equal protection by subjecting the plant to more rigorous environmental regulation than its competitor. The owner, however, failed to sufficiently allege a violation of its equal protection rights on a "class of one" theory. The owner was not similarly situated to its competitor in light of all the factors that would be relevant to an objectively reasonable governmental decisionmaker. Moreover, there was a rational basis for the officials' actions. And even if the owner did state an equal protection claim, the officials did not violate any right that was clearly established at the time. Hence, they are protected by qualified immunity.