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Motion Success in Equal Protection, Commerce Clause Action


Michael J. Murphy successfully defended his client, a New York municipality, by obtaining summary judgment in an action brought in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.  The plaintiff's action asserted violations of the Equal Protection and dormant Commerce Clauses of the United States Constitution.

The plaintiff, a woman of Pakistani origin and Muslim religion, is the operator of a motel situate in the defendant Town.  The plaintiff claimed that the Town's local law, which regulates hotels, motels, boarding houses, and bed and breakfasts within the Town, was violative of the dormant Commerce Clause by imposing a burden on interstate commerce incommensurate with local benefits secured.

Additionally, the plaintiff claimed that the Town's local law was selectively enforced in violation of the Equal Protection Clause as to her motel because it housed registered sex offenders. She also claimed that she and the motel were illegally targeted based upon her age, gender, national origin, and religion.

Mike Murphy moved the Court to dismiss the plaintiff's action against the Town arguing that the Town's local law's “disparate burden,” if any, is not clearly excessive in relation to putative local benefits, and that the plaintiff presented no proof regarding her Equal Protection claim.  The Court agreed with defendant’s arguments, finding that the Town's local laws are not violative of the dormant Commerce Clause and agreed that the record was devoid of any proof that the local law was selectively enforced, dismissing the plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety.

Michael J. Murphy is a Director at Carter Conboy.  Mr. Murphy is a trial attorney handling complex litigation with an emphasis on employment law.  He maintains an active trial practice in state and federal courts as well as before the EEOC and the New York State Division for Human Rights.  He is regularly retained by leaders in business, government and the professions to represent their interests in sensitive, high profile litigation and investigations. Mr. Murphy is a member of the Rules Committee for the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York.  He has served as Chair of Merit Selection and Recertification Panels for United States Magistrate Judges.  Mr. Murphy is currently Chair of ALFA International and Past President of the Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association.

Carter Conboy is a Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ peer rated full-service law firm committed to providing the highest quality legal representation to its clients. Founded in 1920, Carter Conboy has offices in Albany and Saratoga Springs, New York, serving clients throughout New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Hampshire. For additional information about the firm, visit or contact the firm’s Director of Marketing, Stacy A. Smith, at 518-810-0516 or