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Civil Practice – Prior Action Pending – Municipal – Towing Ordinance – Minor Amendments

Civil Practice – Prior Action Pending – Municipal – Towing Ordinance – Minor Amendments

Plaintiff sued the defendant-town over the town’s zoning ordinance, and the town removed the action to federal court based on a federal question. When the town made minor changes to the towing ordinance, plaintiff filed this second action – while the federal action was still pending – alleging only state-law claims. The minor ordinance amendments are not enough to change the nature of this suit, and it involves the same parties and requests similar relief; therefore, the present suit is barred by the prior action pending doctrine.

We affirm the trial court’s grant of the town’s motion to dismiss and denial of plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

The fact that plaintiff filed an amended complaint in the present action asserting the open meetings law as an additional ground for relief does not change the fact that the federal court could dispose of the entire controversy in the prior-filed action, thus rendering the present action wholly unnecessary.

LMSP, LLC v. Town of Boone (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-231-18, 10 pp.) (Valerie Zachary, J.) Appealed from Watauga County Superior Court (Bradley Letts & Richard Doughton, JJ.) Nathan Miller for plaintiff; Patrick Flanagan and Meredith FitzGibbon for defendant. N.C. App.


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