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Category: Articles

August 27th, 2019 — In Articles

No Severance Damages for You, You Have a Special Benefit by OCA Member Mike Rikon

In his Condemnation and Tax Certiorari column, OCA New York Member Michael Rikon discusses partial acquisitions in condemnation cases and writes: “Within the area of consequential damages, we must explore, not only the loss in value suered by the remaining property, but the possible benefits to that remainder which are the result of the improvement for which the part taken was acquired. To further complicate things, the question arises, do we consider special benefits to the remainder as distinguished from general benefits? Read more here.

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July 23rd, 2019 — In Articles

Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania: Federal Courthouse Doors Now Open to Taking Claimants by OCA Member James Masterman

On June 21, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts “restor[ed] takings claims to the full-fledged constitutional status the Framers envisioned when they included the Clause among the other protections in the Bill of Rights.”Knick v. Township of Scott, 139 S. Ct. 2162 (2019). The Fifth Amendment’s “nor shall private property be taken without just compensation” is the clause Chief Justice Roberts references and is the bedrock protection afforded private property in the Bill of Rights, ensuring that full, fair, and just compensation is paid when a taking occurs. If rights guaranteed landowners in the Bill of Rights had so eroded that restorative action, and not merely interpretative, was necessary, there ought to be little dispute at the highest court. To the four justices who dissented, however, the Knick decision “smashes a hundred-plus years of legal rulings to smithereens.” Knick, 139 S. Ct. at 2183 (Kagan, J., dissenting). What could possibly have caused such a hot dispute in the fairly tepid world of eminent domain? Read on.

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July 18th, 2019 — In Articles

The Nasty, Brutish, and Short Life of Agins v. City of Tiburon

By OCA Members Gideon Kanner and Michael Berger IF THE DUKE OF YORK’S MEN THOUGHT they were being made to perform useless, repetitive tasks to no worthwhile end, they were in about the same condition as the American lawyers who were practicing tak- ings law in the 1970s and 1980s. During that period of time, hordes of lawyers representing the competing sides in regulatory taking cases were sent, figuratively, charging up the hill to the Supreme Court (which, to make the analogy complete, sits on top of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.) in an effort to do intellectual battle over the issue of remedies in regulatory taking cases. That issue was whether such takings call for constitutionally mandated “just compensation” as specified in the Fifth Amendment, or only for judicial invalidation of the constitutionally overreaching regulation. Read on.

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June 24th, 2019 — In Articles

Knick Analysis, Part I: After More Than 30 Years, Supreme Court Reopens The Federal Courthouse Door To Property Owners

Read OCA Member Robert Thomas’ take on the recent Knick decision in his blog entitled Inverse Condemnation here.

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June 12th, 2019 — In Articles

Awaiting ‘Knick’…Will SCOTUS Fix the Ripeness Mess?

The decision in an important takings case, Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, reargued Jan. 16, is soon to be released. Be watching for it,… By Dwight Merriam | June 11, 2019. Read more.

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May 6th, 2019 — By  Dwight H. Merriam, CRE — In Articles

OCA Member Dwight Merriam Weighs In On Controversial Topic Before Connecticut Supreme Court

Over the last 40 years, more than 8 million babies have been born through the miracle of in vitro fertilization, creating new love and new families.But when couples split, what happens to the embryos? Is this a property rights issue or someting else? It’s not an easy question to answer. Connecticut would benefit from a law that providesguidance. In the meantime, the Connecticut Supreme Court has that question before it. See OCA Member Dwight Merriam’s recent Article on this controversial topic in the Hartford Courant.

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July 16th, 2018 — In Articles

Owners’ Counsel of America and Many Others Call on U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Unconstitutional and Pre-Textual Taking of Private Port Business Property.

In Violet Dock Port, Inc. v. St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal Dist., Owners’ Counsel of America joins with the Institute for Justice, the Rutherford Institute, the National Federation of Independent Business, Southeastern Legal Foundation, the Atlantic Legal Foundation, and the Cato Institute in filing Amicus Briefs asking the United States Supreme Court to review and reverse a lower court ruling that allowed the state of Louisiana to use its eminent domain powers to lay claim to property owned by one private port business so that it could be operated by a different private business.  Relying on Kelo v. City of New London, the Louisiana Supreme Court held that it was entirely proper to take a fully-functioning private facility with the intent to lease it to another private entity to operate, with the revenues earned from those operations to be shared by both the local government entity and its favored private actor. “Both the United States and Louisiana constitutions prohibit the taking of a privately owned, ongoing business for government operation, or for operation by another favored private entity,” Violet Dock Port attorney and OCA Member Randy Smith states. “This case tests the limits of government takings powers.”

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February 28th, 2018 — In Articles

Five New Orleans stores to receive $2.1M from Major Drainage Project

Owners’ Counsel of America Member Randall Smith represented several landowners who filed damage claims arising from a sewage and sanitation project in New Orleans. After several years of litigation, the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board has agreed to pay five Uptown stores a total of $2.125 million for physical damages and the loss of business caused by major drainage work done on Jefferson Avenue in recent years. The settlement, finalized Monday, comes as the S&WB is preparing for trial in a case brought by 275 plaintiffs who allege their homes also were damaged by work on the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, usually referred to as SELA. Langenstein’s, Discount Corner, Prytania Liquor Store, Prytania Mail Service and British Antiques are among the first plaintiffs to settle claims against the S&WB for damage from the work that turned Jefferson, Napoleon and Louisiana avenues into construction zones for years The five businesses suffered structural damage, including cracks in their buildings and problems with their foundations, and saw their business drop off because the construction limited access to their locations, said Randy Smith, an attorney representing the stores. “At the end of the day, the S&WB and its lawyers stepped up and did what was right,” Smith said.

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September 1st, 2017 — In Articles

14th Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference, October 12-13, 2017

Several members of Owners’ Counsel of America will be speaking at the 14th Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference at the William and Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia on October 12-13, 2017. The Conference is honoring University of Hawaii Law School Professor David Callies (the 2015 Recipient of OCA’s Crystal Eagle award), for his lifetime of work, both scholarly and practical, advancing the right of private property.  Please join us for this exciting event.  

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November 23rd, 2016 — In Articles

Owners’ Counsel of America Files Brief in Inverse Condemnation Case before U.S. Supreme Court

The Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) has joined together with other property rights advocates to file an amici curiae brief with the United States Supreme Court in an inverse condemnation case concerning the rails-to-trails conversion of an elevated rail line in New York to a public parkway.  

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