Multi-Million Dollar Settlement Secured for Property Owner in Long-Running Special Assessment/Regulatory Taking Disputes with City of Rochester


After five years of litigation, Gary Van Cleve and Rob Stefonowicz, real estate litigation attorneys, successfully settled two lawsuits on behalf of property owner/client Frank Kottschade against the City of Rochester that will result in Kottschade recovering over $5.6 million in cash and development benefits.

Over the past five years in the cases of SJC Properties, LLC v. City of Rochester and Kottschade v. City of Rochester, Van Cleve and Stefonowicz have secured:
(a) a district court ruling that set aside over $1.7 million in special assessments levied against Kottschade’s undeveloped land;
(b) a court of appeals ruling affirming the invalidation of the special assessments;
(c) a district court ruling awarding Kottschade costs in excess of $160,000, including all expert witness fees incurred; and
(d) a reversal in the court of appeals of a district court ruling dismissing Kottschade’s regulatory taking claim, which sent the case back to district court for trial.

Since a June 2009 mediation session with the City, the parties have been in negotiations, attempting to settle both lawsuits. Negotiations culminated with a vote on March 1, 2010, by the Rochester City Council to approve a settlement favorable to Frank Kottschade and his companies. The settlement will pay Kottschade $3.9 million in cash, deferred City fees and financial assistance with his development projects. In addition, the settlement includes a waiver by the City of sewer, water, storm water, park dedication and building permit fees for all Kottschade’s development projects in the City, conservatively estimated to have a value of $1.28 million.