Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Amin Ijbara Equity Corp. v. Village of Oak Lawn

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 19, 2017

Amin Ijbara Equity Corporation and Amin Ijbara, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Village of Oak Lawn, Jean Galzin, and Larry Deetjen, Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued June 2, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 13 C 9337 - Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, Judge.

          Before POSNER and Sykes, Circuit Judges, and Yandle, District Judge[*]

          Sykes, Circuit Judge.

         Amin Ijbara owned a strip mall in the Village of Oak Lawn, Illinois, but defaulted on his mort- gage payments, precipitating a foreclosure. He blames this misfortune on Oak Lawn officials, accusing them of waging a campaign of regulatory harassment that included frivolous inspections and citations for nonexistent or trumped-up building-code violations, which cost him money and scared off prospective tenants. He filed this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that this abuse of power violated his right to equal protection of the law.

         The district judge dismissed the suit as time-barred. She held that Ijbara's claim accrued when the foreclosure action was filed, or at the very latest, when the judge presiding in that action appointed a receiver to take control of the mall. Ijbara's suit, filed almost three years later, missed the two-year limitations deadline. Ijbara resists this conclusion, arguing that his claim did not accrue until the state court entered final judgment in the foreclosure action. If he's right, the suit was timely and dismissal was improper. He is not right. Ijbara confuses the eventual consequences of a constitutional violation with the constitutional injury that starts the limitations clock. Ijbara was well aware of his injury and its cause long before the entry of final judgment in the foreclosure proceeding. We affirm.

         I. Background

         We take the following narrative from Ijbara's amended complaint, the operative pleading in the case, and accept the factual allegations as true for purposes of the motion to dismiss. Ijbara owned a strip mall in Oak Lawn known as Central Plaza.[1] In March 2010 two of Ijbara's tenants, James Baker and Gregory Haraf, approached him about renewing their lease. Baker and Haraf operated a convenience store in the mall and had a license to sell liquor. Ijbara refused to renew their lease unless they stopped selling liquor and agreed to carry only groceries, meat, and produce. This naturally upset Baker and Haraf; they threatened to complain to their friends in village government if Ijbara didn't change his mind. Ijbara stuck to his guns.

         About a week later, Larry Deetjen, Oak Lawn's village manager, and David Heilmann, the mayor, sent a team of fire inspectors to examine the mall's sprinkler system. The inspectors issued a citation finding code violations and requiring Ijbara to install an expensive new system. He did so, but the inspectors were not satisfied and withheld their approval until additional work was performed, raising the cost from $22, 000 to $35, 000. Village officials also required Ijbara to upgrade the mall's existing water pipes-at a cost of $12, 600-even though the water pipes were code compliant and functioning normally. Later Ijbara heard from one of his tenants that village officials were preparing to order him to repave the mall parking lot (at an estimated cost of $100, 000) and install a new roof (another $100, 000), both needless repairs.

         In November 2010 Heilmann called Ijbara to pressure him to renew the convenience store's lease with no restriction on liquor sales. Ijbara refused to budge. In January 2011 Oak Lawn inspectors issued several more baseless building-code citations. Village officials also slow-walked or blocked the issuance of business licenses to prospective tenants in the mall. Ijbara's existing tenants were pestered with groundless citations for ordinance violations.

         This concerted harassment gradually reduced the mall's revenues to a trickle, and Ijbara was unable to make his mortgage payments. On February 22, 2011, his lender initiated foreclosure proceedings in state court, and on April 22 the judge presiding in that action appointed a receiver to take possession of and manage the property. The judge's order authorized the receiver to collect all rents relating to the property; tenants were directed to send their rental payments to the receiver. On July 3, 2012, the judge entered final judgment of foreclosure.

         Ijbara filed this § 1983 suit for damages on December 31, 2013. His original complaint raised many claims, but the amended complaint trimmed that number and he now presses only one: a class-of-one equal-protection claim against the Village of Oak Lawn and two of its officials, Deetjen, the village manager, and Jean Galzin, the code enforcement officer.

         The defendants moved to dismiss the case. See Fed. R. Crv. P. 12(b)(6). They argued that the suit was untimely under the two-year statute of limitations applicable to § 1983 actions in Illinois. The district judge agreed, holding that Ijbara's claim accrued, at the very latest, on April 22, 2011. That's when the state court appointed a receiver to assume management of the mall. The judge reasoned that Ijbara was surely aware of his injury by that date. Because he filed this suit more than two years later, the judge dismissed it as time-barred.

         II. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.