Monday, January 6, 2014

Yee v. City of Escondido case brief

Yee v. City of Escondido case brief summary
503 U.S. 519 (1992)

Petitioner mobile home park owners sought review of a judgment from the Court of Appeal of California, Fourth Appellate District, which held that a mobile home rent control ordinance of respondent city did not effect a physical taking of their property. The park owners alleged that the decision was in conflict with the decisions of two federal circuit courts of appeals, which had held that similar ordinances did effect unconstitutional takings.

The park owners challenged the city's mobile home rent control ordinance in state court. They alleged that the ordinance, read in conjunction with California's Mobilehome Residency Law, Cal. Civ. Code Ann. § 798, amounted to a physical occupation of their property. The effect of the two laws was to transfer wealth from the park owners to incumbent mobile home owners, who could command premium prices when they sold their mobile homes. The Third and Ninth Circuits had held that similar ordinances effected unconstitutional physical takings.

The California trial and appellate courts held that the city's ordinance did not. The California Supreme Court denied review, and the Court granted certiorari because of the conflict.


  • The Court held that because the ordinance did not compel the park owners to suffer the physical occupation of their property, it did not effect a per se, physical taking. 
  • The Court refused to consider the park owners' arguments that the ordinance denied them substantive due process, because it was not argued below, and that the ordinance constituted a regulatory taking, because it was not the precise question on which the Court granted certiorari.
The Court affirmed the judgment of the state court of appeal, holding that no physical taking of the owners' property had occurred.

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