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.
May 25th, 2016 — In Articles
Owners’ Counsel of America Files Amici Brief with The Cato Institute in SCOTUS Property Rights Case
On January 15, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it will hear the regulatory takings case of Murr v. Wisconsin, No. 15-214, an appeal out of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. Wisconsin’s intermediate court ruled that a property owner’s separate but adjacent parcels should be considered as a single property for purposes of determining if an uncompensated taking has occurred, despite the fact that doing so substantially deprived the owner of the value of one of the independent parcels. Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) and The Cato Institute (Cato) are asking the Supreme Court to reach a different conclusion.
May 10th, 2016 — In Articles
Department of Energy Moves Forward With First-Of-Its-Kind Exercise of Authority While Bill to Protect Property Owners Remains Pending
Last year, Representative Steve Womack (R-AR) and Senator John Boozman (R-AR) proposed matching versions of the Assuring Private Property Rights Over Vast Access to Land Act (the “APPROVAL Act”) in the House and Senate. The APPROVAL Act would limit the U.S. Department of Energy’s authority under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 by requiring approval from a state’s governor and public service commission for any Section 1222 energy transmission project before the federal government may use the power of eminent domain to take private property.
April 25th, 2016 — In Articles
Two Judges Approve Use of Eminent Domain for New Jersey Dunes
As we have previously discussed, beachfront property owners in New Jersey are currently in a battle with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection over the department’s efforts to condemn portions of their property for a beach-widening and dune-building project along the New Jersey shore. While the Department of Environmental Protection asserts that the project is necessary to protect the shore from future storms similar to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, the property owners counter that there are better alternatives available. They also assert – among other arguments – that the Department of Environmental Protection has refused to offer just compensation for its exercise of eminent domain.
April 18th, 2016 — In Articles
Property Owners Entitled to Just Compensation for Intentional Flooding of Their Land
In some inverse condemnation cases (in which the government takes private property without properly exercising its power of eminent domain), the taking involves some sort of constructive use, such as the building of a road, sidewalk, utility infrastructure or park. These uses are most often intended to be permanent – and whether the taking involves a transfer of ownership or establishment of an easement or right-of-way, the private landowner loses some or all of his or her property rights for good. But, what happens when the government comes onto private property, temporarily floods it, and then leaves? Does this constitute a taking requiring payment of just compensation? The U.S. Supreme Court thought so 2012, and a California appellate court recently agreed.