New York State Court of Appeals
Empire Zone Program — 2009 Amendments
Retroactivity — Due Process
James Square Associates LP, et al. v. Commissioner NYS Dept. of Economic Dev., et al.
J-P Group LLC v. NYS Dept. of Economic Development, et al.
Morris Builders LP v. Empire Zone Designation Board, et al.
Hague Corporation v. Empire Zone Designation Board, et al.
WL, LLC v. Dept. of Economic Development
Nos. 87, 88, 89, 90, 91
Background: All of the above appeals ask whether the retroactive application of the 2009 Amendments to the Empire Zones Program complies with the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. All of the plaintiffs were businesses which were certified under the Empire Zones Program. They were decertified by letter in June of 2009 pursuant to the Amendments
Ruling: The Court of Appeals held that the retroactive application of the 2009 Amendments violated the plaintiffs’ due process rights. The court held that the plaintiffs had conducted their business affairs in a manner consistent with the existing programs requirements and justifiably relied upon the receipt of the tax benefits that were then in effect. Further, the length of retroactivity was excessive. Finally, the state failed to set forth a valid public purpose for the retroactive application.
No 87: Andrew D. Bing for the appellants; Jonathan B. Fellows for the respondents; No. 88: Andrew D. Bing for the appellants; Jennifer C. Persico for the respondents; No. 89: Andrew D. Bing for the appellants; Philip M. Halpern for the respondents; No 90: Andrew D. Bing for the appellants; Michelle L. Merola for the respondent; No 91: Robert K. Weiler for the respondent-appellant; Andrew D. Bing for the appellants-respondents