Claims Against Fire Department and Firefighters Dismissed
Obtained a dismissal on behalf of our clients, a Fire Department and two of its firefighters, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. At the direction of the Borough Code Enforcement, the Fire Department inspected the plaintiffs’ boarding house, where they discovered multiple gas leaks and turned off the gas supply. The residents were displaced, and the property was condemned. The plaintiffs alleged the Fire Department violated their right to procedural due process by not providing proper pre-seizure and post-seizure notices. They further claimed their right to substantive due process was violated when the gas was shut off. The plaintiffs additionally alleged that after the condemnation, vandals entered the property and caused more than $1 million in damages. As a result, they were unable to sell the property for a profit. The District Court held that the Fire Department and its members did not violate the plaintiffs’ rights to procedural due process because the notice requirements were statutorily allocated to Code Enforcement, not the Fire Department. The District Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ substantive due process claim because the continued receipt of utility services is not a federally protected right.