Takings

Regulatory takings claim against United States for reservoir design that foreseeably flooded upstream properties after Tropical Storm Harvey

The Court of Federal Claims has held the United States responsible for a regulatory taking because it created reservoirs and dams that it knew, or should have known, would overflow onto neighboring property and did nothing to stop that from happening. In re Upstream Addicks and Barker (Texas) Flood-Control Reservoirs, 2019 WL 6873696 (Fed. Cl...

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Supreme Court opens federal courts to a floodgate of takings cases

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court overruled Williamson County Regional Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985) and held that owners aggrieved by state regulations they believe took their property without just compensation can immediately sue for relief in federal courts under 42 U.S.C. §1983 even if state law would have provided just compensation through administrative procedures....

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Eighth Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause applies to the states

The Supreme Court held in Timbs v. Indiana, 2019 WL 691578 (2019) that the Eighth Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause applies to the states by incorporation into the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. Tyson Timbs had pled guilty to drug crimes that had a maximum fine of $10,000 but the police had seized his car in a civil forfeiture even though the car was worth $42,000 or more than four times the maximum fine... Read more about Eighth Amendment's Excessive Fines Clause applies to the states

Restrictive covenant held not to be "property" compensable under the takings clause

A town bought a parcel of land subject to a restrictive covenant in order to build a municipal water storage tank contrary to a restrictive covenant prohibiting such construction. The town sued for a declaratory judgment that it could violate the covenant without paying just compensation under the fourteenth amendment's takings clause. Relying on an earlier case decided by the Colorado Supreme Court, Smith v. Clifton...

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City takes property when it constructs a public park and invites the public to cross private property to access the park

A city created a public park next to private property and then used physical signs, maps on Web sites, and other methods to suggest to the public that they were free to cross that private property to get to the beach. Those acts were sufficient to constitute a taking of property without just compensation. The city effectively took a public easement from the private owner....

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Town can alter zoning law retroactively to prohibit Airbnb use

The Massachusetts Land Court has ruled that a town may amend its zoning ordinance to prohibit Airbnb use and that retroactive application of the new law to those who established Airbnb use before it was passed is lawful. The owner had no right to have the prior Airbnb use "grandfathered in" as a prior nonconforming use under state statutes. Styller v. Aylward, 2018 Mass. LCR LEXIS 194 (Mass. Land Ct. 2018). Read more about Town can alter zoning law retroactively to prohibit Airbnb use

Town acquires prescriptive easement allowing public to use a road and abutting parcel

When a road and abutting triangle of land was used the public and maintained by the town, the town acquired a prescriptive easement for continued use of the road by the public. Athanasiou v. Board of Selectmen of Westhampton,82 N.E. 3d 436 (Mass. App. Ct. 2017). The town's highway superintendent maintained the area, plowed, sanded...

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