Supreme Court Rejects Town’s Attempt to Revive “Truck Beach” Dispute

March 9, 2023 – The Supreme Court, Suffolk County (Hon. Paul J. Baisley, Jr.) has dismissed two actions brought by the Town of East Hampton and Town Trustees and rejected their attempt to revisit the Courts’ prior decision to prohibit vehicles on the private beach formerly known as “Truck Beach,” in Town of East Hampton v. Seaview at Amagansett, Ltd., Index Nos. 621830/2021 & 604939/2022.   

The two new actions (which were consolidated and dismissed in one decision) stemmed from a 2009 dispute that was litigated over 13 years and resulted in a February 3, 2021 Appellate Division decision concluding that the beach at issue was privately owned (not publicly owned by the Town) and prohibiting the Town and Trustees from issuing permits allowing vehicles to drive on the beach.  In a June 30, 2022 decision, the Court found the Town in contempt of the Appellate Division’s decision.   

After the 2009 litigation had concluded, the Town and Trustees each commenced new actions in which they claimed a right to relitigate whether vehicles could still be permitted on the private beach, in spite of the Appellate Division’s prior ruling.  In the March 9, 2023 order, the Supreme Court disagreed and granted the owners’ motions to dismiss, concluding that:  “A review of the pleadings in these matters reveals that the Town and Trustees are in fact attempting to relitigate the very same issues that have been litigated in the 2009 matter for thirteen years.  Under the doctrine of res judicata, the Town and Trustees may not institute a new action in order to circumvent an unfavorable decision it received in a previous matter.”  In a further rebuke of the Town’s conduct, the Supreme Court not only dismissed the actions but enjoined the Town and Trustees from filing any more actions on the same subject “without prior court approval….”  

Esseks, Hefter, Angel, Di Talia & Pasca represented four homeowner associations throughout the 2009 litigation, the contempt proceedings, and in the new actions.