I think there are a couple of points in this litigation that need to be discussed. My understanding is that the City could be liable for the Plaintiffs’ attorneys fees if the Plaintiff’s prevail. If there is nearly $600,000 in fees on the City’s side, the Plaintiff’s fees must be substantial as well. I hope the City Council has a clear understanding of the risk, such as under what circumstances, if any, could the City be liable for these fees.
Second is the issue of the Plaintiffs constitutional claims. Judge King ruled that because the administrative warrants had not yet issued, Plaintiffs did not yet have standing on their constitutional claims. Assuming the City amends its Code to comply with Judge King’s order, and an administrative warrant is issued by a judge, then the Plaintiffs would have standing to pursue their constitutional claims. So, these claims may be far from being resolved, and it will likely take the Minnesota Supreme Court to resolve the issue. That’s at least another $50,000 for appeals the City could incur.
The City seems to be “all in.” I hope they are fully apprised of the risks.
When you vote, do you give up your right to be informed?
Link to Eagle article here.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
-4th Amendment, U.S. Constitution
Update: An internal Red Wing Housing Committee memorandum dated April 12, 2004, indicates that although the inspection of rental properties is the first phase of a program, the ultimate goal of the City is to inspect all housing units in Red Wing.
As reported to City Attorney Jay Squires, the Housing Committee wanted “an inspection on all housing units” and was most “comfortable with a phased in program that would allow us to address our largest concerns, rental housing, first.”
Maybe we need to quit referring to this as a “rental” inspection code if the intent is to inspect all housing. Are you ready to figuratively give the City a spare set of keys to your house?