For more than three decades, most property owners have been relegated to state courts when pursuing a takings claim against a state or local agency. In a 5-4 decision issued this week, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed itself and opened the door to the federal courthouse, allowing property owners to bypass the state courts and file a Fifth Amendment takings claim in federal court in the first instance. Knick v. Township of Scott, 588 U.S. __ (June 21, 2019). What this eventually means for property owners, and the federal courts, only time will tell. However, one can reasonably assume that ...
When state and local governments impose unreasonable conditions or exactions on private property, owners pursuing a regulatory takings claim often face a maze of procedural obstacles just to have their case heard. I once described these procedural obstacles as resembling Alice's trip through Wonderland, with the parties falling in and out of state and then federal court (instead of a rabbit hole) based on procedural and substantive rules that often seem as logical as the Mad Hatter's recitals at the Tea Party. The reason for this maze stems from (i) a U.S. Supreme Court decision ...
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