Weekly litigation report — March 8, 2019

March 08, 2019 | By ERIC SHEAR

Appellate victory for high school dancers

The federal Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled in favor of PLF clients Dmitri Moua and Zachary Greenwald, reversing a trial court judgment and ordering Minnesota officials not to ban boys from competitive high school dance teams. In D.M. and Z.G. v. Minnesota State High School League, Dmitri and Zach challenged Minnesota’s outdated policy of restricting participation in competitive dance to girls. In granting the injunction, the court agreed that the policy likely violates the boys’ rights under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause because evidence does not support the notion that a ban on boys is needed to redress past discrimination against girls in high school sports. As a result, Dmitri and Zach will be able to try out for their schools’ dance teams next school year. For more on the decision, see our blog post.

Property rights go up in smoke

PLF filed Zito v. North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission, a federal property rights lawsuit in North Carolina challenging an unconstitutional land grab by the Town of Nags Head and the state coastal commission.  When Michael and Cathy Zito’s beach home burned to the ground, all they wanted to do was rebuild it on the same footprint as the old one. The town and state refused to give permission to rebuild anything at all on their lot because the home would be too close to the ocean to meet more recent setback requirements, despite the fact that their street is lined with neighboring homes just as close to the water. Today, the Zitos can only use their property for tent camping, while the town enjoys their lot as public beachfront open space, free of charge.  This violates the Fifth Amendment and the NC Constitution’s prohibitions on government takings of private property without just compensation, and PLF looks forward to fighting alongside the Zitos to protect their property rights.  Read more at our blog.