Civil (Equitable Estoppel, Gov’t): SEBASTIAN-VOOR PROPERTIES, LLC V. LEXINGTON-FAYETTE URBAN COUNTY GOVERNMENT (COA 9/1/2006)

SEBASTIAN-VOOR PROPERTIES, LLC V. LEXINGTON-FAYETTE URBAN COUNTY GOVERNMENT
CIVIL PROCEDURE:  Equitable estoppel against government
2005-CA-000609
PUBLISHED –  AFFIRMING (VANMETER)
DATE RENDERED: 9/1/2006

As general proposition, doctrine of equitable estoppel may be enforced against government entities only in the most exceptional of circumstances.  The COA held that Fayette Co’s Planning Commission’s permitting continuing development of rural subdivision over 30 year period did NOT constitute such.  While the COA noted that the Commission did allow the Plaintiffs to continue engaging in various developments of the property, this alone did not suffice to satisfy the first element of equitable estoppel, i.e., the intentional misrepresentation or concealment of facts.  It stated that a public officer’s failure to correctly administer the law would not prevent a more efficient and diligent officer to later correctly apply that law, and that an erroneous interpretation of the law would not be perpetuated.  Finally, the COA also held that the circumstances of this case were not so exceptional as to allow equitable estoppel.

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