Karout v. McBride
To prevail on selective enforcement, a plaintiff must prove: 1.) he was treated differently than similarly situated individuals; and 2.) the different treatment was based on impermissible considerations, such as race, religion or malicious bad faith intent to injure. In June 2009, David Sulkis, the city planner for the City of Milford, allegedly informed the plaintiff, Sammer Karout, who is Muslim and was born in Syria, that he was required to obtain a special exception permit to operate his business, the Olive Tree Hookah Lounge. After Karout complied with Sulkis' requests to provide an A-2 survey and site plan, Sulkis allegedly required another survey and additional landscaping. Also that month, A. Dennis McBride, the director of the Health Department, issued a cease-and-desist order, because the business constituted a public health nuisance. In December 2010, McBride allegedly admitted that Karout had complied with Connecticut Department of Public Health requirements. At a March 2011 Planning and Zoning Board hearing, Karout's request for a special exception was denied. Karout sued the city and individual defendants, alleging discrimination, disparate treatment and retaliation based on his race, religion, origin and ancestry. The defendants moved to dismiss. The plaintiff's allegations that citizens were unable to use his restaurant failed to allege a violation of the right to intimate association, which requires allegations of marriage, childbirth or family relationships. Even if the plaintiff possesses the right to associate with others to celebrate Middle Eastern culture, the defendants did not prevent that. The defendants only prevented such association at Karout's business. Karout failed to state a claim that the defendants violated his right to expressive association. Karout also failed to allege that the defendants' conduct was motivated by or substantially caused by Karout's speech, to allege a First Amendment retaliation claim. Allegations that the plaintiff's business was subject to more stringent requirements than other, similar businesses were sufficient to state an equal protection claim, and the court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss. Karout failed to establish he possessed a constitutionally protected right to a special exception permit, and the court dismissed his substantive and procedural due-process claims.