Wiggin and Dana Successfully Defends the Town of Madison in Dispute Related to Building Permit Fees

April 23, 2013

Hartford – Wiggin and Dana successfully defended the Town of Madison, Connecticut in a lawsuit related to the Town's system of charging for, and use of the revenues from, building permit fees.

The lawsuit grew out of a 2004 increase in building permit fees charged by the Town. A group of developers, including Neighborhood Builders, claimed the Town was in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act for allegedly overcharging for building permit fees.

The Connecticut Appellate Court ruled Monday, April 22, 2013, in the Town's favor on the one remaining point, involving the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The Court upheld the lower court decision that the Act does not apply to municipalities in such cases.

Wiggin and Dana's Hartford-based partner and chair of the firm's Antitrust and Consumer Protection Practice Group, Robert M. Langer, argued the case and worked with Thomas R. Gerarde and Emily E. Cosentino, lawyers from Howd & Ludorf, LLC.

Bob Langer comments, "This is the first Connecticut appellate decision that has addressed municipality liability under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act ("CUTPA") since 1999." Langer explains that the conduct at issue in this case concerns the establishment of building permit fees by the Town of Madison. The authority of a town to issue building permits, as well as charge for and collect building fees, is expressly governed by Connecticut statutes and regulations. In fact, the Appellate Court stated, "The set of fees established by the [Town of Madison] pursuant to this statutory authorization is precisely what the plaintiffs challenge in the present case."