A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit filed by a Fayette County, PA, auto body shop against a county commissioner.
In August, U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti dismissed the lawsuit filed by Joey’s Auto Repair & Body Shop and On-Par Turf, both businesses owned by Joseph Cellurale, against Fayette County Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink in its entirety.
The lawsuit claimed Cellurale was mistreated by the county because of an ongoing dispute between him, Terry and Diane Kriss, and that Zimmerlink allegedly instructed county employees to cite Cellurale’s businesses for false zoning violations.
The Krisses were also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
“As I said when this suit was filed, these were false allegations,” Zimmerlink said.
Zimmerlink’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the original complaint, which led to the plaintiffs in the case to file an amended complaint. That amended complaint was met with a renewed motion to dismiss the claim followed by a motion to file a second amended complaint, which was met with a motion opposing amending the complaint again. Plaintiffs also filed a motion to seek leave to file a third amended complaint.
“Plaintiffs already had three bites at the apple,” Conti wrote in her order denying the request to seek leave to amend the complaint.
Conti also agreed with arguments of the defendants that the plaintiffs in the case failed to state a claim under equal protection and due process because governmental action causing a decline in property value has never been held to support a substantive due process claim and that the plaintiffs in the case failed to plead any conscious-shocking conduct from Zimmerlink, who, Conti pointed out, is only one vote where a majority of three votes is needed to establish policy on behalf of the county.
“In sum, the amended complaint fails to allege sufficient facts to state a substantive due process claim against Defendants,” Conti wrote. “This court must decline Plaintiffs’ invitation to become a super zoning tribunal.”