Sixth Circuit reinstates constitutional claim against Village of Armada
Paterak Mold & Engineering moved to the Village of Armada after securing a Special Approval Land Use permit (SALU) allowing it to operate in an area not zoned for light industrial. Critics argued that Paterak never followed through on its obligations under the SALU, and when Paterak sought to expand its operations, one particular village official engaged in something of a crusade against Paterak. Perhaps one group would claim that Paterak was being held to its obligations, while the other group would argue that it was being persecuted.
Ultimately, Paterak filed a 1983 claim, arguing that its critics exceeded the boundaries of reasonable when they cited Paterak for infractions that the Village had previously approved, and eliminated the Downtown Development Authority that John Paterak chaired. The District Court had found Paterak in contempt and summarily dismissed his First Amendment and 1983 claims. The Sixth Circuit rejected the lower court's analysis and reinstated the plaintiffs' claim. It concluded that a reasonable jury could readily reach the conclusion that the defendants' actions were "arbitrary and capricious" and denied the Paterak plaintiffs' civil and constitutional rights.