Small Business Asks SCOTUS to Reconsider Case that Bars Property Owners from Federal Court

Date: December 15, 2015
Immediate Release

Contact: Kelly Klass 609-713-4243
Follow Kelly
on Twitter @KellyAKlass

Follow NFIB on Twitter @NFIB

Small business filed a brief yesterday
arguing that property owners should be allowed to vindicate their federal
rights in federal court

Washington, D.C.
(December 15, 2015)
– The U.S. Supreme Court should reconsider and overturn
Williamson County Regional Planning Commission
v. Hamilton Bank
, a 1985 decision that closed federal courthouse doors to
property owners seeking compensation for regulatory takings of their land, said
the National Federation of Independent
Business (NFIB)
in a brief filed yesterday afternoon. 

“Property Owners are effectively being blocked from
vindicating their federal rights to receive just compensation for the taking of
their property in federal court and it’s unconstitutional,” said Karen Harned, Executive Director of the
NFIB Small Business Legal Center
.  “Under
Williamson County they must
instead sue in state court to ‘ripen’ their federal takings claim, but
there is no opportunity for landowners to thereafter have their claims heard in
federal court. This is problematic because sometimes state courts are more
hostile to federally protected property rights, especially when influenced by
local political pressures.”

At issue in the case of Arrigoni
Enterprises, LLC v. the Town of Durham
is whether property owners who have
suffered an uncompensated takings of their property should be barred from
seeking compensation in federal court.  The
Arrigoni family sued the township of Durham, Connecticut when they were denied
the zoning permits needed to develop their land.  The family claimed that the denial of permits
constituted an unconstitutional
taking of their property. But when they sought to raise that claim in federal
court, it was dismissed as unripe under Williamson County.

In Williamson County, the Supreme Court ruled that property owners must sue in state court in
order to ripen a federal takings claim.  But
many scholars and legal commentators believe Williamson County was wrongly
decided. And, in Arrigoni, NFIB Small
Business Legal Center is urging the Supreme Court to reconsider this decision—the
second time NFIB has urged the Supreme Court to take a Williamson County case in the last eighteen months. 

 “Before the Williamson case, there was never any requirement that property owners had
to resort to litigation in order to ripen their takings claims,” continued
“This was a bad decision
and we urge the Supreme Court to overturn it to ensure property owners can
vindicate their fundamental rights in federal court as the Constitution’s
framers intended.

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