A federal judge has rejected Howard Lutnick’s $36 million lawsuit claiming that Southampton Town municipal boards infringed on his rights by denying an application for the construction of a basketball court on his 40-acre Bridgehampton property, which sits on an agricultural reserve on Halsey Lane.
Judge Arthur Spatt of the Eastern District Court of New York dismissed the case, finding that the town’s rejection of the application was not “arbitrary” as the lawsuit claimed, but was properly enforced under the agricultural easement on the property.
“The town sees this as a very positive step,” said Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato.
It is standard practice for the town to file a motion to dismiss for all claims that seek to overturn its boards’ decisions, said Ms. Scarlato.
The town had no such luck with Mr. Lutnick’s other lawsuits, three of which are still pending in court: an Article 78 on the rejected basketball court application, an Article 78 on a rejected application for a barn, and a lawsuit against the individual members of the Town Planning Board and the Town Agricultural Advisory Committee for the denial of the barn application. The latter case, which could potentially hold board members personally liable, moved forward in federal court in August. These pending lawsuits seek a total of $80 million.