Monthly Archives: March 2023
March 14th, 2023 — In OCA Blog
OCA Files Amicus Brief in Trails Act Case to Uphold Legal Precedent
Owners’ Counsel of America, along with four other national property rights groups recently filed an Amicus Brief challenging the U.S. government’s request to revisit a property owners’ takings claim based on the Trails Act. The groups’ brief noted that several of the court’s rulings dating back two decades established a clear precedent on the matter which the government was clearly seeking to overturn. Established precedent holds that the Trails Act gives rise to a per se physical taking (not a regulatory taking) of a landowner’s private property when the government first invokes section 8(d) of the Trails Act. See Preseault v. Interstate Commerce Comm’n, 494 U.S. 1, 8 (1990) (Preseault I) (The Trails Act “gives rise to a takings question in the typical rails-to-trails case because many railroads do not own their rights-of- way outright but rather hold them under easements or similar property interests.”) and Preseault v. United States, 100 F.3d 1525, 1550 (Fed. Cir. 1996) (en banc) (Preseault II) (Trails Act imposes “a new easement for the new use, constituting a physical taking of the right of exclusive possession that belonged to the [landowners].”).Following the filing of the all briefs, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied the government’s Petition for Rehearing. The property owners were represented by OCA members Thor Hearne and Stephen Davis.
March 14th, 2023 — In OCA Blog
OCA Members Win Multi-Million Dollar Verdict on Behalf of Property Owner
A North Carolina jury awarded a property owner $5,084,000 earlier this week for the taking of his partially redeveloped hotel. Amar Patel was represented by the Cranfill Sumner LLP attorneys George Autry and Jeremy Hopkins, who are also members of Owners’ Counsel of America. The trial lasted six days with the jury ultimately deliberating for approximately 50 minutes. The department initially offered Mr. Patel $244,825 for the partial taking of his property located at the intersection of I-95 and Spring Branch Road in Dunn. At the trial, the property owner presented evidence from two appraisers suggesting damage in the range of $4,916,209 to $5,251,000. “Mr. Patel spent years buying and renovating his property,” says OCA member George Autry. “It is gratifying to have the jury validate that hard work and recognize the damage the Department of Transportation project will have on it.” “This was about getting Mr. Patel fair value,” added Jeremy Hopkins.
March 6th, 2023 — In OCA Blog
OCA Joins in Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Home Equity Theft Case
Geraldine Tyler, age 94, owed Hennepin County $2,300 in unpaid property taxes on her Minnesota condominium. When that small amount ultimately generated $12,700 in fees, the County seized her condo and sold it to pay the taxes and fees. By the time the condo was sold for $40,000, Tyler’s total debt came to $15,000. But the county did not return the excess $25,000 to Tyler. Instead, it pocketed the excess equity in her home. When Tyler sued the county to get the $25,000 back, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that a Minnesota tax statute “abrogated” her property right in her home equity. Now the Supreme Court has taken Tyler’s case, and the Cato Institute, joined by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Minnesota, the National Association of Home Builders, and Owners’ Counsel of America has filed an amicus brief supporting her position. Click here if you would like to view this brief.