United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Virginia M. Kendall United States District Judge
Jane Atlas and her daughter, Margaret Schwalbach claim that
Defendant, Village of Glencoe (the “Village”),
violated Plaintiffs' constitutional rights by failing to
grant an emergency work permit and to provide consideration
for an easement in connection with a deteriorating ravine
which threatened Ms. Atlas's property. Plaintiffs brought
a five-count complaint in state court, alleging two state-law
claims (Counts I and II) and three federal claims (Counts
III-V). (Dkt. 1). Given the federal claims, the Village
removed the case to federal court. (Id.). This Court
granted the Village's request to delay its answer to the
state-law claims pending the resolution of the Village's
motion to dismiss the federal claims. (Dkt. 17).
bring their federal claims against the Village under 42
U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988, for deprivation of their
substantive due process rights (Count III) and equal
protection rights (Count IV and V). The Village has moved to
dismiss these claims, and for the following reasons, the
Village's motion is granted.
following factual allegations are taken from Plaintiffs'
complaint and are assumed true for purposes of this motion.
W. Bend Mut. Ins. Co. v. Schumacher, 844 F.3d 670,
675 (7th Cir. 2016).
Atlas previously owned and resided in a home in the Village
(the “residence”). (Dkt. 11-1 ¶ 6). The
residence was situated on property Ms. Atlas owned.
(Id.) The residence overlooked and was adjacent to a
ravine, part of which was within the boundaries of Ms.
Atlas's property. (Id. ¶ 7).
Village constructed stormwater management facilities designed
to empty stormwater from the Village streets and surrounding
areas into a stream at the bottom of the ravine.
(Id. ¶¶ 10, 11). At some point before May
2017, the Village became aware that a portion of the
stormwater system near the residence had been damaged and
had, in part, collapsed. (Id. ¶ 12). The
collapsed drain and damaged system caused stormwater to jet
toward the slope of the ravine on Ms. Atlas's property,
causing erosion which “undermine[d] the
stability” of the ravine. (Id. ¶¶
13, 15, 16). The Village, however, did not inform Ms. Atlas
of the damaged system, and as of Spring 2018, the Village had
still not repaired it. (Id. ¶¶ 14-15).
early May 2018, Ms. Atlas listed her residence and property
for sale, and, on May 14, 2018, she signed a contract with a
purchaser to sell the residence and property for $527, 000.
(Id. ¶¶ 8, 9). On May 21, 2018, heavy
rains led to significant erosion of the ravine on Ms.
Atlas's property. (Id. ¶ 16). On May 22,
2018, a home inspection by the purchaser revealed the
significant erosion of the ravine and that the erosion had
undermined the foundation of the residence. (Id.
¶ 17). The contract was cancelled immediately, as was
the listing. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 19). Ms. Atlas
contacted several expert consultants, who determined that the
erosion was due to the damaged stormwater system and
collapsed drain. (Id. ¶ 20).
30, 2018, Ms. Atlas, Ms. Schwalbach, and David Mau, the
Village Director of Public Works, met at Ms. Atlas's
property. (Id. ¶ 21). Mr. Mau indicated the
Village would address the defect and would seek an easement
from Ms. Atlas to access the ravine. (Id. ¶
21). On June 26, 2018, Ms. Atlas and Ms. Schwalbach met with
Mr. Mau and Village Engineer, Anna Kesler, at the Village
Hall regarding the damage to the ravine and the residence.
(Id. ¶ 22). Mr. Mau and Ms. Kesler told Ms.
Atlas and Ms. Schwalbach that the Village had been aware of
the problem for some time and that funds had been approved to
make necessary repairs to the damaged system. (Id.
¶ 22). Ms. Atlas requested Village assistance in
addressing the damage. (Id. ¶ 23). The Village
offered no specific assistance but again requested an
easement on Ms. Atlas's property to perform repairs.
(Id. ¶ 23). In response, Ms. Atlas asked the
Village to stabilize the part of the ravine on her property.
(Id. ¶ 24). The Village declined, stating that
it would not offer her consideration for the easement and
that its repairs would be limited to the immediate area
surrounding the damaged part of the system and the collapsed
drain. (Id. ¶ 24).
rains continued to cause damage to the ravine and the
residence, and on June 27, 2018, Ms. Schwalbach discovered a
crack in the foundation of the residence. (Id.
¶¶ 25, 26). On June 29, 2018, both Mr. Mau and Ms.
Kesler observed the damage to the residence and property.
(Id. ¶ 27). The next day, Mr. Mau acknowledged
that, to prevent further damage, Ms. Atlas would need to
undertake temporary shoring of the ravine on her property.
(Id. ¶ 28). Mr. Mau, however, did not state
what, if anything, the Village would do to repair the damage
caused by the stormwater system. (Id. ¶ 28).
19, 2018, Ms. Atlas and Ms. Schwalbach appeared before the
Village Board of Trustees seeking assistance in correcting
the problems with the property and residence. (Id.
¶¶ 29-30). At the meeting, Ms. Atlas and Ms.
Schwalbach openly criticized the Village and its staff for
their lack of responsiveness to the damage caused to Ms.
Atlas's residence and property. (Id.
¶¶ 29-30). After the meeting, the Village again
asked Ms. Atlas about the easement, but still did not offer
her any consideration. (Id. ¶ 32). Nor did the
Village take any action to repair the damaged system or to
stabilize Ms. Atlas's property. (Id. ¶ 32).
of the ravine, property, and residence continued, and
Plaintiffs were forced to vacate. (Id. ¶ 34).
At that point, Ms. Atlas contracted to have emergency shoring
work done. (Id. ¶ 35). On July 26, 2018, Ms.
Atlas told Ms. Kesler about the emergency work and Ms. Kesler
gave Ms. Atlas a permit form for the emergency work and a
copy of the Village's Steep Slope Regulations,
“promising that the Village would expedite any permit
review for the [e]mergency [w]ork.” (Id.
August 2, 2018, Ms. Atlas filed the emergency permit
application and contractors began work on her property.
(Id. ¶ 37). But the work was short lived-
instead of processing the permit, the Village placed a stop
work order on the shoring. (Id. ¶ 38). The
Village required that Ms. Atlas supplement the emergency
application with information she asserts is typically
required only for a non-emergency application. (Id.
¶ 42). Still, the Village sought an easement yet
declined to provide consideration for it. (Id.
¶ 39). Without the necessary work on the ravine, damage
to Ms. Atlas's property continued. (Id. ¶
mid-August 2018, Ms. Atlas and Ms. Schwalbach attended yet
another Village Board meeting, again publicly criticizing the
Village, this time publicly calling the Village Manager a
liar when he claimed ...