United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
WITHDRAW ACTION AND DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 20, 2016, 62-64 Kenyon Street Hartford, LLC
(“Kenyon Street” or “Plaintiff”), a
Connecticut limited liability company that operated a rooming
house on Kenyon Street in Hartford, Connecticut and its sole
member, Paul Rosow, filed this lawsuit alleging violations of
statutory and constitutional rights by the city of Hartford
(“Hartford” or “Defendant”),
following a revision of the rooming house section of
Hartford's municipal code. Compl., ECF No. 1.
December 29, 2017, the Court dismissed Plaintiff from the
action, granted Defendant's motion for summary judgment,
and closed the case. Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 44; Order
Granting Mot. for Summ. J. (“First Summ. J.
Order”), ECF No. 58. On January 5, 2018, Plaintiff
moved for reconsideration. Pl.'s Mot. for Recons., ECF
No. 60. The Court denied the motion with respect to
Plaintiff's equal protection claims. Ruling on Mot. for
Recons., ECF No. 64. The Court, however, granted the motion
with respect to Plaintiff's void for vagueness, dormant
Commerce Clause, and Takings Clause claims, finding that
Plaintiff had received insufficient notice that those claims
were to be reviewed. Id.
13, 2018, Defendant submitted a supplemental memorandum in
support of its motion for summary judgment. Def.'s Supp.
Mem. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 67. On July 27,
2018, Plaintiff filed its opposition to the revised motion
for summary judgment. Pl.'s Supp. Obj. to Mot. for Summ.
J., ECF No. 68. On October 24, 2018, the Court held a hearing
on the revised motion for summary judgment. Minute Entry, ECF
November 14, 2018, Plaintiff moved to amend the Complaint to
remove its federal and state takings claims. Mot. to Amend,
ECF No. 75. The Court granted Plaintiff's motion to
amend. ECF No. 76.
November 15, 2018, Plaintiff moved to withdraw the action
entirely. Pl.'s Mot to Withdraw Action, ECF No. 77.
reasons discussed below, the Court DENIES
Plaintiff's motion to withdraw this case.
Court GRANTS Defendant's motion for
summary judgment and dismisses Plaintiff's void for
vagueness and dormant Commerce Clause claims. The Court
further declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's remaining state law claims.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
case involves the licensee-occupancy provision of
Hartford's rooming house ordinance, § 18-164 of the
Hartford Municipal Code, which states:
The licensee who obtains a license under this Article shall
reside in the rooming house. In the R-6, R-7, and R-8 zoning
districts, no license or license renewal shall be issued to a
licensee who is not the owner or majority owner of the
property. A licensee who is not the owner of the real [sic]
shall have a valid power of attorney from the owner, not more
than one (1) year old, which gives the licensee authority to
do all things necessary to manage and operate the rooming
house, including, without limitation, to collect, deposit and
spend the rents from roomers, to pay bills, to make repairs,
to correct violations, and to allow inspections of the
Code: City of Hartford, ch. 18, art. VII, § 18-164.
Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the facts as
set forth in its earlier rulings on Defendant's motion to
dismiss and motion for summary judgment. Order Denying Mot.
to Dismiss, ECF No. 33; First Summ. J. Order.
alleges “additional material facts” in its
opposition to summary judgment on the reconsidered counts,
Pl.'s Rule 56(a)(2) Statement of Facts (“Add'l
Material Facts”), ECF No. 68-1.
Court's earlier ruling did not fully consider these
“additional material facts”: (1) the property has
been a rooming house in the west-end of Hartford since the
early 1900's, ¶ 2; (2) the rooming house has been
licensed since 1960, ¶ 4; (3) since 1977, Hartford's
municipal code has required the owner of the rooming house to
either reside there or to appoint an agent, ¶ 6; (4) Mr.
Rosow had appointed an agent to live in the house “[a]t
all times . . . as permitted by law”, ¶ 7; (5)
Hartford and the West End Civic Association
(“WECA”) sought advice from the mayor's wife,
attorney Sara Bronin, “on ways to suspend the Rooming
House license”, ¶¶ 8-10; (6) Daniel Loos,
former Director of Licenses and Inspections, ordered two
surprise inspections of the property though he had not done
so in the five years he worked for the city, ¶¶
11-12; (7) Hartford allegedly singled out the rooming house
in its inspections and documentation requests, ¶¶
13-14; (8) WECA and Hartford allegedly conspired to rid the
neighborhood of Plaintiff's rooming house, ¶¶
15-39; (9) a buyer allegedly walked away from the deal to
purchase the rooming house after and because of the
city's ordinance, ¶¶ 43-47; (10) the ordinance
allegedly does not prescribe how limited liability
corporations (LLCs) could meet its requirements, ¶¶
48-50; (11) the rooming house's typical residents
allegedly were “low income minorities, many from out of
state”, ¶¶ 50-51; and (12) Plaintiff
allegedly charged below market rents for rooms. ¶ 52.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Motion to Withdraw Action
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i), a plaintiff
may voluntarily dismiss an action without a court order
before an opposing party serves an answer or motion for
summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1)(A)(i). Once an answer
or motion for summary judgment has been served, however, a
plaintiff must seek a court order for dismissal. Fed.R.Civ.P.
does not permit voluntarily dismissal absent a court order
following summary judgment because “such a motion may
require even more research and preparation than the answer
itself . . . .” See Harvey Aluminum, Inc. v. Am.
Cyanamid Co., 203 F.2d 105, 107 (2d Cir. 1953)
(“The amount of research and preparation required of
defendants was stressed by the Committee Note when Rule
41(a)(1) was amended in 1948 as a reason for adding the
reference to a motion for summary
judgment.”). Under Rule 41(a)(2), a Court may grant the
dismissal without prejudice on “terms that the court