Sunday, April 14, 2013

Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp. case brief

Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp. case brief summary
458 U.S. 419

Appellant landlady challenged a judgment of the Court of Appeals of New York, holding that a minor but permanent physical occupation of an owner's property authorized by N.Y. Exec. Law § 828 (1) (Supp. 1981-1982) did not constitute a "taking" of property for which just compensation was required by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

OVERVIEW: Appellant purchased an apartment building in which the prior owner had allowed appellee cable company to install a cable on the building and to furnish cable television services to the tenants. Appellant filed a class action alleging that the installation was a trespass and a taking without just compensation.

Reversing the state court, the Court held that the physical occupation of an owner's property authorized by the government was a "taking" of property. N.Y. Exec. Law § 828(1) (Supp. 1981-1982) provided that a landlord must permit a cable television company to install its cable facilities upon the landlord's property.

The Court explained that to the extent the government permanently occupied physical property, it effectively destroyed the right of the owner to exclude or control that portion of her property. The Court noted that Constitutional history confirmed that this was a taking and recent cases did not question the rule. In addition, the purposes of the Takings Clause compelled retention. The Court concluded that the amount of compensation was a matter for the state court to determine on remand.

OUTCOME: The Court reversed the judgment and remanded the matter so that the state court could determine the appropriate amount of compensation due the landlady.

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