Watrous v. Borner
A court can order a member of an inland-wetlands agency, who allegedly violated a property owner's substantive due-process rights, to immediately take action to "remove or release any cease-and-desist orders recorded on the Property." After the defendant inland-wetlands agency filed a cease-and-desist order, the plaintiff property owner, Kenneth Watrous, sued the municipality, the inland-wetlands agency, and the individual members of the inland-wetlands agency in Connecticut Superior Court. The defendants removed the suit to District Court. The plaintiff's allegations against the municipality and the inland-wetlands agency were dismissed or withdrawn. A jury returned a plaintiff's verdict on the plaintiff's substantive due-process claim against the individual defendants, because they allegedly exceeded their authority. The jury awarded compensatory and punitive damages. The plaintiff requested that the court also order the defendants to release the cease-and-desist order. The District Court did not include injunctive relief in the court judgment, because the defendants claimed that the cease-and-desist order already had been released. The plaintiff requested that the court amend the judgment, because the plaintiff has not received a copy of the release. The court found that because the plaintiff's claims against the municipality and the inland-wetlands agency were dismissed or released, the court could not order an injunction against them. Two of the individual defendants are no longer on the inland-wetlands agency, and the court found that the plaintiff's request for injunctive relief with respect to them was moot. The last remaining defendant violated the plaintiff's substantive due-process rights, because he exceeded his authority as a member of the inland-wetlands agency, and the plaintiff's request for relief is not moot, because he remains a member of the commission. The plaintiff established irreparable harm, because the cease-and-desist order affects the plaintiff's ability to sell his property. The court ordered the remaining individual defendant, who currently serves as chair of the commission, to immediately take action to "remove or release any cease-and-desist orders recorded on the Property."