SW Legal studies in Business

City Did Not Violate Landlord's Due Process by Branding Him as a "Slumlord"
Description Appeals court upheld dismissal of a suit brought by a landlord who claimed he was subject to violation of his right to equal protection when the city placed a sign in front of his rental property identifying him as a "slumlord." Since the city did the same thing to similar property owners, he was not subject to differential treatment.
Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words Equal Protection; Regulations; Landlord
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Albiero, the owner of rental property, sued the City of Kankakee for placing a large sign in front of his property that read: SLUM PROPERTY! It listed him as the owner of the property and noted that it was not in compliance with city code and blighted the neighborhood. A city ordinance allowed such signs to be placed on property that was not in compliance with city regulations and was the subject of numerous citations and complaints by neighbors. The city had placed about 20 such signs on various property, removing them when they came into compliance with the building code. Albiero contended that the city's action violated his right to equal protection because he had been singled out for retaliation due to prior disputes with the city. The trial court dismissed his suit; he appealed.
Decision Affirmed. A plaintiff may bring an equal protection claim as a "class of one" where he alleges that he has been intentionally treated differently from others similarly situated, and that there is no rational basis for the difference in treatment. This could include a claim that a government took spiteful efforts against him due to various disputes, as Albiero claims. The fact that there may have been ill will between Albiero and city officials is not adequate to support Albiero's claim. His property was treated the same as other property that was not in compliance with city regulations, so he was not singled out on the basis of vindictiveness.
Citation Albiero v. City of Kankakee, 246 F.3d 927 (7th Cir., 2001)

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