City of Indianapolis v. ArmourAnnotate this Case
The City of Indianapolis abandoned the “Barrett Law” method of financing sewer improvements in favor of a new system that imposes less of a financial burden on property owners. To ease the transition, the City discharged all outstanding Barnett Law assessments owing as of November 1, 2005, but did not give refunds to those property owners who had previously paid their Barrett Law assessments in full or in part. Plaintiffs Christine Armour and other property owners who had paid their Barrett Law assessments in full petitioned the City for refunds in the amount equal to the assessments discharged in 2005. In their claim, Plaintiffs alleged that the City had violated their federal constitutional rights to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. At trial, the court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, and the City appealed. On appeal, Plaintiffs abandoned their due process claim and sought to have the equal protection claim sustained. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgment. The City appealed again. Upon review, the Supreme Court held that the City did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because forgiving the outstanding assessment balances was rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest. The Court reversed the decision of the trial court and remanded the case for further proceedings.