Reget v. City of La Crosse, No. 06-1621.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtSykes
PartiesJohn G. REGET, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CITY OF LA CROSSE, John Medinger, Larry Kirch, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Decision Date08 February 2010
Docket NumberNo. 06-1621.
595 F.3d 691
John G. REGET, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CITY OF LA CROSSE, John Medinger, Larry Kirch, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
No. 06-1621.
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.
Argued January 12, 2009.
Decided February 8, 2010.

[595 F.3d 693]

William P. Skemp (argued), William Skemp Law Firm, S.C., La Crosse, WI, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

John A. Wolfgang (argued), Gunta & Reak, Milwaukee, WI, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before EASTERBROOK, Chief Judge, and WILLIAMS and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

SYKES, Circuit Judge.


The City of La Crosse and John Reget have had a long, acrimonious relationship stemming from Reget's operation of a business that doubles as a body shop and an automobile-restoration company. The City's junk-dealer ordinance required Reget to comply with certain building and safety-code provisions and to fence his outdoor auto storage from the view of his surrounding residential neighbors. Reget claims the City singled him out for enforcement of this ordinance and also that it discriminated against him in connection with a proposed rezoning plan, all in violation of his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. He filed this lawsuit seeking damages and injunctive relief, but the district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment. Because Reget has not shown that the City has treated him differently than other similarly situated businesses, we affirm.

I. Background

Reget has operated John's Auto Body in the City of La Crosse, Wisconsin, since 1975. The conflict between Reget and the City dates back to 1980, when the City condemned his old building, compensated him for a move to his present location, and gave him an additional $14,000 to remodel his current building. On receipt of this compensation, Reget signed a release waiving all claims against the City arising from the condemnation and relocation. Since then, however, Reget is convinced the City is trying to drive him out of business. In the district court, Reget made numerous claims of mistreatment at the hands of city officials, but on appeal he limits his argument to three: He claims that the City selectively enforced its junk-dealer ordinance against him, targeted him for rezoning in a discriminatory fashion, and selectively enforced its noise regulations.

The dispute between Reget and the City flared up in the early 1990s, when the City cited Reget several times for violating the junk-dealer ordinance. This ordinance imposes a variety of obligations on junk dealers. It requires, among other things, that junk dealers obtain a license; it also imposes certain building and safety requirements on junk dealers, and limits when and where they can operate. See LA CROSSE, WIS., CODE § 20.12. Most important for purposes of this litigation, the ordinance requires that any junk dealer who stores two or more junked vehicles outdoors for more than 30 days build an opaque fence shielding the vehicles from public view.1 Id. § 20.12(F). Reget was

595 F.3d 694

cited three times between 1991 and 1994 for violating the junk-dealer ordinance. The parties have not told us which provisions of the ordinance Reget allegedly violated, but it is undisputed that all three citations were eventually dismissed.

The next dispute between the parties arose in 1995-1996 when the City attempted to rezone Reget's property from "heavy industrial" to "commercial," a move that would have forced Reget to relocate his business yet again. The proposed reclassification of Reget's property was part of a comprehensive rezoning of the City's north side, and in connection with this project, more than 100 properties were rezoned. Reget contends, however, that his property was the only heavy industrial property targeted for rezoning. He complained, and the City eventually agreed to abandon its attempt to rezone Reget's property in exchange for his agreement to abide by the junk-dealer ordinance. More specifically, in a covenant signed in 1997, Reget promised to install a fence on several sides of his business to hide his outdoor auto storage from the view of nearby residences. He also agreed to abide by the City's noise restrictions by limiting his nighttime operations. The City, in turn, agreed that Reget's property would remain zoned for heavy industrial use. In addition, to allay Reget's persistent complaints that the City was selectively enforcing its ordinances, the City agreed to enforce any ordinance violations committed by Reget's neighbors.

Reget never installed the fence. He says he was excused from doing so because the City failed to live up to its agreement to enforce ordinance violations—in particular, noise violations—that he claimed his neighbors were committing. In 2003 Reget received a fourth citation, this time for violating a building-code provision of the junk-dealer ordinance. Again, the parties compromised. The City agreed to install a fence on Reget's property itself, and Reget agreed to repay the City for the cost of the fence over a period of fifteen years. Based on this agreement, the 2003 citation was dismissed.

In 2006 Reget filed this lawsuit alleging, among other claims, that the City and various city officials violated his equal-protection rights by selectively enforcing its ordinances against him and by targeting him for rezoning. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The district court granted this motion, holding that Reget had failed to submit evidence showing that similarly situated junk dealers received more favorable treatment from the City. This appeal followed.

II. Discussion

We note first that although most of the events at issue in this dispute are quite dated, the defendants did not assert a statute-of-limitations defense. This surprises us. Under the applicable statute of limitations supplied...

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193 practice notes
  • Marshall v. Amsted Rail Co., Case No. 10–cv–0011–MJR–SCW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • 20 Septiembre 2011
    ...legitimate inferences in favor of, the non-moving party. Righi v. SMC Corp., 632 F.3d 404, 408 (7th Cir.2011); Reget v. City of La Crosse, 595 F.3d 691 (7th Cir.2010); National Athletic Sportswear, Inc. v. Westfield Ins. Co., 528 F.3d 508, 512 (7th Cir.2008). When the non-moving party bears......
  • Jucha v. City of Chi., No. 13 C 8629
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • 6 Agosto 2014
    ...animus is required in equal protection claims, that issue does not affect the Court's decision here. See Reget v. City of La Crosse, 595 F.3d 691, 695 (7th Cir.2010) (“Some of our cases have also required proof that the state action was motivated by illegitimate animus against the plaintiff......
  • Harrington v. Strong, 8:18CV383
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Nebraska
    • 29 Enero 2019
    ...favorably must be identical or directly comparable to the plaintiff in all material respects." Id. (quoting Reget v. City of La Crosse , 595 F.3d 691, 695 (7th Cir. 2010) ). Plaintiffs failed to allege the existence of a similarly situated person or business entity that was treated more fav......
  • Thompson v. Vill. of Monee, No. 12 C 5020
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • 1 Julio 2013
    ...in all material respects. LaBella Winnetka v. Vill. of Winnetka, 628 F.3d 937, 942 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing Reget v. City of La Crosse, 595 F.3d 691, 695 (7th Cir. 2010)). Plaintiffs merely allege that on certain dates the Officers threatened to ticket and tow vehicles parked on Plaintiffs' ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
193 cases
  • Marshall v. Amsted Rail Co., Case No. 10–cv–0011–MJR–SCW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • 20 Septiembre 2011
    ...legitimate inferences in favor of, the non-moving party. Righi v. SMC Corp., 632 F.3d 404, 408 (7th Cir.2011); Reget v. City of La Crosse, 595 F.3d 691 (7th Cir.2010); National Athletic Sportswear, Inc. v. Westfield Ins. Co., 528 F.3d 508, 512 (7th Cir.2008). When the non-moving party bears......
  • Jucha v. City of Chi., No. 13 C 8629
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • 6 Agosto 2014
    ...animus is required in equal protection claims, that issue does not affect the Court's decision here. See Reget v. City of La Crosse, 595 F.3d 691, 695 (7th Cir.2010) (“Some of our cases have also required proof that the state action was motivated by illegitimate animus against the plaintiff......
  • Harrington v. Strong, 8:18CV383
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Nebraska
    • 29 Enero 2019
    ...favorably must be identical or directly comparable to the plaintiff in all material respects." Id. (quoting Reget v. City of La Crosse , 595 F.3d 691, 695 (7th Cir. 2010) ). Plaintiffs failed to allege the existence of a similarly situated person or business entity that was treated more fav......
  • Thompson v. Vill. of Monee, No. 12 C 5020
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • 1 Julio 2013
    ...in all material respects. LaBella Winnetka v. Vill. of Winnetka, 628 F.3d 937, 942 (7th Cir. 2010) (citing Reget v. City of La Crosse, 595 F.3d 691, 695 (7th Cir. 2010)). Plaintiffs merely allege that on certain dates the Officers threatened to ticket and tow vehicles parked on Plaintiffs' ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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