Here’s a pretty rare one: a trial court entering summary judgment on liability in favor of the property owner in a takings case. Yes, you read that right.
And to top it off, this ruling comes in a case in which the taking alleged was a police invasion and destruction of a home for the valid public purpose of apprehending a holed-up criminal, a brand of claim that has not met with a whole lot of success. See, for example, this case from the Tenth Circuit, and this case from the Supreme Court of South Carolina.
In this order, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas held the City of McKinney liable for a physical taking. The entire order is worth reading, but here are some of the highlights.
- The court rejected the Tenth Circuit’s rationale, which concluded that these are “police power” actions, and thus never a taking.
- Lech relied on cases like Mugler (the one where the Supreme Court held that Kansas’ banning manufacture and sale of liquor was a valid exercise of its police power).
- But there’s a difference between physical takings (the case here) and regulatory takings (not this).
- Check out the law review article the district court cited, Emilio Longoria, Lech’s Mess with the Tenth Circuit: Why Governmental Entites Are Not Exempt from Paying Just Compensation When They Destroy Property Pursuant to Their Police Powers, 11 Wake Forest J. L & Pol’y 297 (2021).
- The district court’s opinion also picked up on a familiar vibe: a valid police power action doesn’t mean it isn’t a taking, merely that the government action likely qualifies as a public use. Slip op. at 19 (citing Zachary Hunter, You Break It, You Buy It—Unless You Have a Badge? An Argument Against a Categorical Police Powers Exception to Just Compensation, 82 Ohio St. L.J. 695, 703 (2021).
Definitely check it out.
- “Something is very wrong with this picture.” Cal Ct App Calls Out CEQA (“fearsome weapon”), Tiburon’s “official hostility,” And “combined animus of two levels of local government”
- New Article (Bethany Berger): “Property and the Right to Enter”
- New Article: Woolhandler & Mahoney, Federal Courts and Takings Litigation, 97 Notre Dame L. Rev. 679 (2022)