FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Zak Walsh
April 3, 2012 (248) 626-0006
APPEAL IN PRECEDENT-SETTING MICHIGAN LAND USE CASE SET FOR APRIL 11
Bloomfield Hills, Mich. – Oral arguments will be heard April 11, 2012 in the appeal of the landmark land-use case Paeth vs. Worth Township, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division. The oral arguments will take place before the Sixth Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
Attorney Daniel P. Dalton, co-founder of the Bloomfield Hills, Mich. law firm Dalton Tomich plc, announced a unanimous verdict of $600,000 issued by a federal jury in favor of Worth Township, Mich. residents George and Margaret Paeth in August 2010. The Court subsequently awarded the Paeths nearly $300,000 in attorney fees. Dalton represented the Paeths at trial and on appeal.
The Paeth vs. Worth Township verdict remains the largest procedural due process and First Amendment retaliation case in the history of the federal courts within the Eastern District of Michigan and one of the largest such verdicts rendered to date nationwide. Worth Township appealed the jury decision in November 2010.
According to Dalton, “the Paeth vs. Worth Township verdict was based upon the Township's deliberate and spiteful violation of the Paeths' constitutional rights.”
Since August 2010, the court ordered the Township to assess all property owners to pay for the judgment and the Township collected $1 million. Additionally, the Township clerk was recalled, two council members quit and the Township supervisor lost his bid for re-election.
Dalton is among the nation’s most well regarded land use attorneys. He has won landmark land use and zoning cases for clients across the country, including several precedent-setting decisions on behalf of religious organizations under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, also know as RLUIPA.
Dalton issued the following statement summarizing the case after the August 2010 Paeth vs. Worth Township verdict:
“The facts in this case established that throughout the past five years, the elected and appointed officials of Worth Township used their governmental powers in an unlawful and spiteful manner to drive the Paeths out of Worth Township because they dared to question the elected officials' governance. In an attempt to construct their dream home, the Paeths found themselves in a constant battle with the Township and its building inspector, mostly in the issuance and subsequent unlawful revocation of their water and building permits.
“The battle reached a pinnacle in November 2007, after the Township unlawfully posted a stop work order without any basis. The Township admitted it posted the order because the Paeths won a zoning appeal in the Sanilac Circuit Court that was twice affirmed by the Michigan Court of Appeals.
“The jury found that these acts, among others, deprived the Paeths of their constitutional rights — retaliation for exercise of their First Amendment Rights along with their Fifth Amendment Procedural Due Process rights.”
Based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Dalton & Tomich plc is a law firm specializing in providing guidance to leading religious organizations in land use and zoning matters, helping property owners in land use matters, and assisting businesses and financial institutions as legal counsel across the nation. Visit https://www.daltontomich.com for more information.