Suing for the City: Expanding Public Interest Group Enforcement of Municipal Ordinances

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Scott Ferron is a 2019 graduate of Columbia Law School.

This Note proceeds in three parts. Part I explains the concept of a private right of action, demonstrates how it has been used in the municipal context, and describes a developing form of the private right of action: the third-party private right of action. Part II discusses the legal framework that allows cities to create third-party private rights of action, as well as the legal limitations that constrain cities should they attempt to do so. Part III addresses the policy considerations in support of municipal third-party private rights of action, as well as potential criticisms. It concludes that cities should experiment further with this method of enforcement and suggests legislative areas where cities could benefit from creating third-party private rights of action.

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