November 21st, 2020 — In News & Events
Virginia Statute Allowing Electrical Easements to be Use for Broadband Challenged as Unconstitutional
After the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 831 authorizing utility companies to use existing “easements for the location and use of electric and communications facilities,” OCA’s Virginia member, Joshua Baker, filed suit, asserting that the law amounts to an unconstitutional taking of property rights without compensation and a denial of due process. Mr. Baker seeks a repeal of the legislation as part of the lawsuit. Mr. Baker explains that the property owners he represents, “are essentially giving up additional rights for for-profit companies to use their land,” but without being compensated for such rights. To read more about the case and the Complaint that was filed go to Robert Thomas’Inverse Condemnation Blog.
October 30th, 2020 — In News & Events
Announcing OCA and PLF Joint Webinar on Shutdowns, Closures, Moratoria, and Bans
Since the beginning of the pandemic we have seen Governors and State Legislatures across the country implement an array of policies in an attempt to contain the virus and its socioeconomic impacts. Many of these policies effectively broadened the scope of government power while placing a heavy burden on property owners and businesses already struggling during the COVID 19 pandemic. Jim Burling from Pacific Legal Foundation and Robert Thomas from Owners’ Counsel of America will explore these COVID related policies and legal challenges. Topics to be covered include: The constitutional implications of emergency orders restricting property and business owners The rights and legal status of property and business owners impacted by emergency orders Past, current and upcoming litigation challenging emergency orders This is a public event. If you would like to register, please click here.
October 30th, 2020 — In News & Events
William & Mary Law School’s Annual Property Rights Conference Brings Experts Together Virtually
For those who could not attend this year’s Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference on October 1-2 at William & Mary Law School, a link to the panels, speakers and recorded sessions can be found on OCA Member Robert Thomas’ Inverse Condemnation Blog. This year’s conference opened with the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize being awarded to Professor Henry E. Smith of Harvard Law School. The prize is named in honor of the lifetime contributions of Toby Prince Brigham, founding partner of Brigham Moore, LLP and founder of OCA, and Gideon Kanner, professor of law emeritus at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. The award is given annually and is presented to a scholar, practitioner or jurist whose work affirms the fundamental importance of property rights.
October 28th, 2020 — In Articles
Mike Rikon and Jon Houghton Discuss A Recent New York Case Addressing the Practice of Advance Payments and Sandbagging
In an article published in the New York Law Journal Owners’ Counsel of America Members Mike Rikon and Jon Houghon discuss the recent decision in Staten Island Land Corp and how it seeks to address the problem of advance payments and sandbagging in the State of New York. As they explain in the article, under New York’s quick take statute, the government can take title to property which it seeks to condemn by making an advance payment based on the government’s ‘highest approved appraisal’ before the final determination of just compensation has been made, which payment can subsequently be used by the owner to purchase replacement property. However, what happens if the condemning authority tenders a second (and much lower) appraisal at trial (a tactic called sandbagging) that results in a final just compensation determination well below the advanced payment? In such situations, the landowner can be forced to repay the deficiency amount, something that is difficult to do if the owner has already reinvested the money in replacement property. Read here on how the Staten Island case seeks to remedy this obvious injustice.
October 14th, 2020 — In Articles
Nailing Down Knick and Governmental Takings in Louisiana by OCA Member Randall A. Smith
Owners’ Counsel of America member Randall Smith writes in a new article published in the October/November issue of the Louisiana Bar Journal about the unique interplay between Louisiana’s expropriation laws and the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent landmark decision in the Knick case. The article focuses on what Knick may mean for Covid-19 claims against local governments in the wake of mass shutdowns and other regulatory measures that are currently impacting businesses and property interests, both in Louisiana and nationwide. The article also highlights a case currently before the 5th Circuit involving enforcement of a $28,764,685 just compensation and interest judgment against Bernard Port that Randall Smith obtained for his client Violet Dock Port, as a result of the taking of its’ port facility in 2010. To read the Bar Journal article in full click here.
October 8th, 2020 — In News & Events
Podcast Episode 54 – The Emotions of An Eminent Domain Case with Stephen Clarke
OCA Affiliate Member, Stephen Clarke of the law firm of Waldo & Lyle in Norfolk Virginia recently joined Clint Schumacher on his Eminent Domain podcast to share a story about the reaction of his clients to the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. On a lighter note, Stephen also introduces Clint to the board game “Settlers of Catan.” To listen to the podcast, click here. Clint’s Podcast can also be found on iTunes and Stitcher.
October 6th, 2020 — In News & Events
OCA Crystal Eagle Award Winner and Law Professor David Callies Authors Book on Landmark Knick Case
The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Knick v. Township of Scott has been aptly described as one of the most influential property rights cases of the last decade. In Knick, the Court explicitly overturned the second prong of the so-called Williamson County ripeness test that required property owners to seek a remedy through state action –usually just compensation – for the alleged taking before coming to federal court. In David Callies new book, published by the American Bar Association, entitled “Regulatory Takings after Knick: Total Takings, the Nuisance Exception, and Background Principles Exceptions: Public Trust Doctrine, Custom, and Statutes,” he provides a summary of takings law in general and discusses in detail total takings and the exceptions which permit governments to so strictly regulate property as to permit no economically beneficial use. Legal scholars from across the country already have commented on the importance of Mr. Callies’s work. Professor Henry Smith of Harvard Law School called it “a lucid and insightful guide through the labyrinth of the caselaw on categorical takings,” and Steven J. Eagle, of the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, noted that the new book “sets forth federal and state law respecting the tension between private property rights and government regulation in a way useful to both general readers and specialists.” David Callies is a professor of law at the University of Hawaii Law School and a former recipient of the prestigious Crystal Eagle Award from Owners’ Counsel of America. .
September 24th, 2020 — In News & Events
Joseph Waldo Continues Fight For Oystermen in Income Loss from Latest Dump of Raw Sewage into Nansemond River
To follow up on a story we ran earlier regarding OCA’s Amicus Brief filing in the case of the City of Suffolk’s operation of a sewage and stormwater system so as to discharge wastewater into the Nansemond River, we learn that after recent rains an estimated 1.5 million gallons of raw sewage has been dumped in the river. “They are discharging and allowing raw sewage to be discharged into the rivers that we swim in…” says attorney Joe Waldo (seen in the photo) who represents several oystermen currently suffering huge losses due to the situation. Robert Johnson, who owns one of the businesses impacted, estimates he has 750 acres of oyster beds that can’t be harvested right now, and that is costing him $2,000 to $3,000 a day. “We are totally shut down. Ninety percent of our oysters are in the Nansemond River which is the best growing ground in this area.”
September 18th, 2020 — In News & Events
OCA Members Robert Thomas and Katie Gray To Present at the CLE International Eminent Domain Conference in Denver
For the past 22 years, CLE International has sponsored presentations by the most knowledgeable and experienced eminent domain professionals. This year will be no exception! During a two-day virtual Conference to be held on September 24-25, the industry’s leading experts and attorneys in eminent domain, relocation, appraisals, and land planning will present on a variety of timely topics. Owners’ Counsel of America’s Hawaii Member, Robert Thomas, Owner’s Counsel’s Executive Director, Leslie Fields, and Glenn Roper with the Pacific Legal Foundation will all participate in a panel discussion on the landmark Knick case. Further, Katie Gray, an affiliate member with Owners’ Counsel of America and an associate with Faegre Drinker & Biddle will present on Oil and Gas Assets in Eminent Domain. For more information about the conference and how to register, click here.
September 17th, 2020 — In News & Events
Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference Will Be a Virtual Format This Year
It’s not too late to register for the annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference presented by the William & Mary Property Rights Project.This ground-breaking conference is held in honor of OCA founder Toby Prince Brigham and OCA Honorary Member Gideon Kanner for their lifetime contributions to private property rights. The conference is designed to bring together members of the bench, bar, and academia to explore recent developments in the law that affect property rights. The Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference began in 2004 at William & Mary Law School. Each year, the conference awards the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize to an individual whose work has advanced the cause of property rights and has contributed to the overall awareness of the important role property rights occupy in the broader scheme of individual liberty. This year’s award recipient is Professor Henry Smith of Harvard Law School. The Conference will honor Henry Smith on Thursday, October 1, and the conference panels will be held on Friday, October 2. Both portions will be presented live over Zoom this year. To find out more details and/or register, click here.