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.”
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.
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.
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.
October 5th, 2016 — In Articles
Battle on the Beach: Owners’ Counsel of America Files Amicus Brief in Important Property Rights Case
Recently, the Owners’ Counsel of America filed an amicus brief in a property rights case currently pending in the North Carolina Supreme Court. The case, Nies v. Town of Emerald Isle, No. COA15-169 (N.C. App. Nov. 17, 2015), concerns the ownership and right to use the “dry sand” beach. OCA joined with Hawaii Law Professor David Callies as amici on the brief.
July 18th, 2016 — In Articles
While One State Seeks to Limit Powers, Another Seeks to Reinvigorate Use of Eminent Domain
Since the infamous 2005 Supreme Court Kelo decision, many have watched as state and federal legislators across the country consider a variety of laws relating to eminent domain and property rights. Some of these laws have specific purposes – such as the APPROVAL Act that Arkansas’s congressional delegation proposed in 2015 – while others are intended to more broadly restrict or expand the government’s power to condemn private land. Two recently-proposed bills on opposite sides of the country fall into this latter category, albeit with diametrically opposite aims.
July 14th, 2016 — In Articles
North Carolina Supreme Court Holds Map Act Unconstitutional
In an important victory for property owners, the North Carolina Supreme Court recently held that key provisions of the state’s Map Act are unconstitutional. As a result of the Court’s ruling June 10, 2016, affected property owners will be entitled to just compensation for the state’s regulatory taking of their properties. Additionally, landowners throughout the state may seek just compensation in the event that the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) prevents them from improving their land in order to reserve property for future roadway development projects.
June 30th, 2016 — In Articles
Glossary: Eminent Domain Terminology
If a government agency (or a utility or other private company acting with the government’s authority to use the power of eminent domain) is attempting to take your property, it is critical to make sure that you understand your rights under the law of eminent domain. For most people, this starts with familiarizing yourself with the basic terminology involved. To help you get started, we have prepared a glossary of some of the key terms.
June 29th, 2016 — In Articles
OCA Files Amicus Brief In Support of Property Owners in NC “Public Trust Doctrine” Case
Along our country’s shores, a historical legal principle known as the “public trust doctrine” allows members of the public to access the beach beyond either the mean high or low water mark, even where this section of the beach (as well as the land above the water mark) is private property. This is the law in most states; and, until recently, it was clear that the public trust doctrine did not – and was not intended to –provide local governments the authority to interfere with landowners’ rights in the “dry sand” areas of their private property.
June 7th, 2016 — In Articles
California Court Rules that Obstructing a Private View Does Not Amount to Inverse Condemnation
A recent case out of the California Court of Appeal illustrates two important aspects of the law of inverse condemnation in The Golden State. Inverse condemnation involves the government appropriating private property rights without adhering to the Constitutional and legal requirements for the exercise of eminent domain (including payment of just compensation). You can read more about the differences between eminent domain (also referred to as “condemnation”) and inverse condemnation here.