Code enforcement/inspection

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Morris vs Sax (MN Supreme Court) Local landlord licensing ordinances cannot exceed state building code requirements.

Federal RICO case against St Paul Inspection Department

Devines v. Maier (7th Circuit) Displacement of tenants through aggressive code enforcement

Armendariz v. Penman (9th Circuit) An equal protection claim could be established for enforcement of housing and fire codes in an arbitrary and invidiously discriminatory manner.

Warrant or permission required for inspections
  • Montville v. Lewis (7th Circuit) Warrantless inspections without proper consent may be unconstitutional.
  • Camara v. Municipal Court (US Supreme Court) Warrantless inspections cannot be justified on the grounds that they make minimal demands on occupants; [387 U.S. 523, 524] that warrants in such cases are unfeasible; or that area inspection programs could not function under reasonable search-warrant requirements. Pp. 531-533.
  • City of Seattle v. McCready (WA Supreme Court) Municipal Court Does Not Have Authority to Issue Administrative Search Warrants
  • Milwaukee v. B. Davis (WI Court of Appeals) A lawful Exterior Code Compliance inspection could not have taken place absent a warrant or permission from Davis.
  • See v. City of Seattle Therefore, appellant may not be prosecuted for exercising his constitutional right to insist that the fire inspector obtain a warrant authorizing entry upon appellant's locked warehouse.
  • Heldstab v. Milwaukee
  • City of Vincennes IN v. Emmons et al
Rental Licensing
Federal relief for rights violations
  • Bivens Action permits a private right of action for monetary damages for the vindication of a Constitutional right, based on the principle that for every wrong, there should be a remedy.
Qualified Immunity of Inspectors

Municipal employees may have "qualified immunity" from personal liability for their acts. However they can lose this protection

  • Montville v. Lewis (7th Circuit) Municipal employees lose their qualified immunity if they violate clearly established law.
  • Espanola Way v. Meyerson (8th Circuit) Qualified immunity is unavailable to officials who, though otherwise covered, act with malice or contrary to clearly established law.
  • Marlett v Lawing (11th Circuit)This brief is a good outline on the arguments,
Municipal Ordinance restricting number of unrelated adults