General Articles

October 5th, 2016 — In Articles

Battle on the Beach: Owners’ Counsel of America Files Amicus Brief in Important Property Rights Case

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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.

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July 18th, 2016 — In Articles

While One State Seeks to Limit Powers, Another Seeks to Reinvigorate Use of Eminent Domain

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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.

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July 14th, 2016 — In Articles

North Carolina Supreme Court Holds Map Act Unconstitutional

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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.

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June 30th, 2016 — In Articles

Dictionary of Key Terms

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Below are general definitions of key terms that are often used in eminent domain and other taking cases. Please note that the precise definition of any of the following terms may differ depending upon the state or jurisdiction applicable to the relevant matter. Additional Information on Eminent domain Our website is full of resources for individuals and businesses threatened with the loss of their private property rights. For more information on the law of eminent domain and inverse condemnation, you can read: Calculating Just Compensation Eminent Domain vs. Inverse Condemnation: What’s the Difference? Property Owners’ Frequently Asked Questions about Eminent Domain Understanding Your Rights in Inverse Condemnation and Regulatory Takings Cases When Can Property Owners Challenge Eminent Domain? Can I Afford to Hire an Eminent Domain Attorney? Speak With an Eminent Domain Lawyer at Owners’ Counsel of America Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) is a network of leading eminent domain lawyers throughout the United States. If the government is attempting to take your property, we encourage you to contact an OCA lawyer in your state for a free consultation. Locate your OCA lawyer online or call us at (877) 367-6963 to connect with an eminent domain lawyer today.

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June 29th, 2016 — In Articles

OCA Files Amicus Brief In Support of Property Owners in NC “Public Trust Doctrine” Case

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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.

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June 7th, 2016 — In Articles

California Court Rules that Obstructing a Private View Does Not Amount to Inverse Condemnation

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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.

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May 25th, 2016 — In Articles

Owners’ Counsel of America Files Amici Brief with The Cato Institute in SCOTUS Property Rights Case

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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.  

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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

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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.

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April 25th, 2016 — In Articles

Two Judges Approve Use of Eminent Domain for New Jersey Dunes

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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.

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April 18th, 2016 — In Articles

Property Owners Entitled to Just Compensation for Intentional Flooding of Their Land

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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.

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