Sunday, April 14, 2013

Palazzolo v. Rhode Island case brief

Palazzolo v. Rhode Island case brief summary
533 U.S. 606

Petitioner landowner sued respondents in state court, asserting that respondent resource management council's application of its wetlands regulations took his property without compensation in violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed the denial of the landowner's takings claim. The landowner's petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Rhode Island was granted.

OVERVIEW: The landowner was a shareholder in a corporation that invested in the subject property. The resource management council promulgated regulations designating salt marshes such as those on the property as protected coastal wetlands. The landowner subsequently became the corporation's sole owner. When the corporate charter was revoked, title passed to the landowner. The council denied the landowner's application to fill the property. The landowner filed a takings action, which was rejected in state court.

The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part.

The state court erred in finding that the claims were unripe, because the landowner obtained a final decision from the council determining the permitted use for the land. The state court also erred in ruling that acquisition of title after the effective date of the regulations barred the claims. However, the state court did not err in finding that the landowner failed to establish a deprivation of all economic value, because it was undisputed that the upland portion of the parcel retained significant worth for construction of a residence. The case was remanded so the claims could be examined under the Penn Central analysis.

OUTCOME: Judgment was affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case was remanded for further proceedings.

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