Janosek v. City of Cleveland, No. 12-4028 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Janosek owns a business that makes welded ring products. The business uses water to cool hydraulics used in the process. In or before 1999 Janosek installed closed loop water chillers that he hoped would recapture the water and significantly decrease water consumption. Instead of seeing a decrease in his water bills, Janosek continued to pay in excess of $150,000 a year until 2002, when the bills dropped to between $10,000 and $25,000 a year. Janosek suspected that he had been over-charged based on the Cleveland Water Department practice of estimating water consumption. Cleveland’s Moral Claims Commission, established to consider monetary claims that Cleveland is not legally obligated to pay, held a hearing, without notifying Janosek, and denied the claim. The district court dismissed Janosek’s case, finding that claims of unjust enrichment, taking without just compensation, and negligence were barred by the statute of limitations, and that a due process claim concerning the lack of notice failed because Janosek had not identified a valid property interest. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Any legitimate property interest that Janosek had in the overpayments lapsed with the running of the limitations period.