September 27, 2006

The Suit Smell of Success

It's yet another feather in the caps of East Hampton Town legal eagles. On Friday, Supervisor Bill McGintee announced favorable rulings in legal actions taken against the town relating to both the Comprehensive Plan and the town's ferry legislation.

On Thursday, town officials learned the court had ruled in East Hampton's favor in the lawsuit launched by Francarl Realty Corporation and the Montauk-based Viking Fleet. Francarl and company sued looking to overturn the town's 1997 ferry law. U.S. District Judge Sandra J. Feuerstein opined that the litigants failed to successfully argue that the ferry law is discriminatory and in violation of interstate commerce precepts.

An earlier lawsuit making the same argument brought by the North Fork's Cross Sound Ferry was similarly dismissed. The company appealed the decision and oral arguments were recently given in the case. Town Attorney Laura Molinari predicted East Hampton would see continued success with the legal action.

She expressed the same confidence regarding a slew of suits filed following the town's adoption of an update to its Comprehensive Plan. In six federal suits, petitioners argued the plan's upzonings were tantamount to a taking of their properties and reducing the value of their land. All six were dismissed.

Another seven state actions have been filed. Six are pending and the earliest proceeding filed on behalf of the Ross School was dismissed. Molinari anticipates the Ross School decision will be applicable to most of the other cases as well.

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