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Pleasant Ridge homeowners in Charlestown will have their day in court

Judge orders November trial between homeowners and city of Charlestown amidst years long legal battle.

CHARLESTOWN, Ind. — The homeowners in Charlestown’s Pleasant Ridge neighborhood will have their case brought to court on Nov. 12, 2019. 

Residents of the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood initially filed a lawsuit in 2017 claiming that the city of Charlestown and a developer were conspiring to extort owners out of their houses by levying fines for buildings that were not up to code. 

This battle began 2 years ago when a group of property owners in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood sued the city for fining them because they were in violation of health and safety codes.

But the people who live there say the codes are unconstitutional and its a way for the city to get rid of them so they can build a new development of their property.

Although the case was dismissed earlier this year, Judge Jason Mount of Scott County ordered the parties to trial next month.

The homeowners, represented by public interest law firm, Institute for Justice, is fighting to prove that the city violated their due process and equal protection rights by favoring developer John Neace over ordinary property owners. 

The law firm claims that Neace has been buying homes in the historic Pleasant Ridge neighborhood as part of a plan with the city to replace existing homes and residents.

Institute for Justice also claims that their evidence will establish that the city has used its property maintenance code to fine property owners to compel sales to Neace.

“This trial comes on the heels of findings by Judge Mount and the Indiana Court of Appeals that Charlestown violated city and state law in trying to force home sales to Neace,” said Institute for Jusitce Senior Attorney Jeff Rowes. “The U.S. and Indiana Constitutions don’t allow the city to use code enforcement to cleanse a neighborhood of ordinary Americans doing their best to raise their families.”

Institute for Justice says upcoming trial will be the homeowners’ opportunity to put forward their evidence once again and seek a final judgment.

The trial is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at the Clark County Courthouse, 501 East Court Avenue, Jeffersonville, IN 47130.

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