SCOTUS May Alter Process for ‘Takings’ Claims Against Govt’s

November 29, 2018

More than three decades ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), setting forth two requirements that a property owner must meet before a claim that a local government has violated the Fifth Amendment prohibition on taking property without just compensation is ripe to be heard in federal court.

First, the court said, the “finality rule” requires that the government has reached a final decision regarding the application of the regulation to the owner’s property. Second, the owner must seek and be denied just compensation using the state’s procedures, provided those procedures are adequate.

Over the years, the second requirement has become immersed in some degree of controversy. A case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, No. 17-647, now presents the Supreme Court with the opportunity to reaffirm or, perhaps much more likely, to change that requirement.

Anthony S. Guardino, a partner with the law firm of Farrell Fritz, P.C., practices in the areas of land use, zoning, and environmental law. Resident in the firm’s office in Hauppauge, Long Island, he can be reached at aguardino@farrellfritz.com.

Reprinted with permission from New York Law Journal, Wednesday, November 28, 2018, Vol 260 – No. 103

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