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April 30th, 2012 — By — In News & Events

SCOTUS Denies Review in NYC Just Compensation Case

This morning the Supreme Court issued its order listing, among other things, the cases which the court has decided it will or will not grant certiorari. Of those to be denied review is the eminent domain case of River Center LLC v. Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, No. 11-922 (cert. petition filed Jan. 23, 2012) in which the constitutional guarantee of “just compensation” is at issue.

This is the case that involves one of the largest condemnations of private property in NYC history – the taking of the unused development rights of an entire city block in Manhattan near Lincoln Center for the performing Arts.  Here, the property owner and developer challenged the compensation awarded by the New York State courts for the taking of private property because the NY appellate courts refused the owner the right to put forth evidence pertaining to the property’s value.  The NY courts opined that the owner whose property is taken by eminent domain must be able to show its claimed highest and best use is “established as reasonably probable and not a ‘speculative or hypothetical arrangement in the mind of the claimant,'” and that the owner must have specific plans that will “come to fruition” in the immediate future.

The property owner argued in the cert petition that the Just Compensation Clause of the Fifth Amendment does not require a property owner to show that the development plans will come to fruition soon.We filed a brief in support of the property owner which argued that all evidence of value must be considered by a reviewing court and that the court(s) cannot disregard evidence that a potential buyer of the property would consider important in assessing value.