Zarin & Steinmetz Successfully Defends Rockland County Villages Against Federal Claims

Michael Zarin and Jody Cross, representing the Villages of Wesley Hills, Chestnut Ridge, Montebello and Pomona, successfully obtained Summary Judgment in a highly publicized, Federal Court action. The nearly decade long litigation centered on an array of purported constitutional violations arising from those Villages’ challenge (in a related State Court action) under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) relating to the development of Plaintiffs’ 60-unit multi-family adult student housing complex.

Plaintiffs claimed, among other things, that they were denied equal protection when the Villages brought the SEQRA suit in the Environmental Claims Part of the Westchester County Supreme Court. Z&S successfully argued that the Villages were simply advocating their legitimate planning and environmental concerns on behalf of their constituents.

In dismissing Plaintiffs’ claims, which sought $100 million in damages against the Villages, U.S. Southern District of New York Judge Kenneth Karas held that Plaintiffs provided no evidence that they were denied equal protection, or that the Villages violated any of Plaintiffs constitutional rights. Judge Karas also held that Plaintiffs could not establish any violations under RLUIPA.

Rabbi James Bernstein, et al. v. Vill. of Wesley Hills, et al., 2015 WL 1399993 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 27, 2015 )