listed in chronological order and organized by subject matter under the
following topics: regulatory takings, physical invasions and
occupations, dedications, the means-end
inquiry, remedies, procedural
issues, and the
public-use requirement. The
list provides a quick overview of the development of takings jurisprudence
as it relates to each topic. Click on the case name to link to the
First, the list does not include every Supreme Court takings
case (far from it).
Second, several of these cases address more than one
issue, but we list each case only once below.
For any particular case, consult the index to determine
the Handbook chapters that discuss the ruling.
listing of Supreme Court cases)
REGULATORY TAKINGS (and related cases)
v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623 (1887).
Kansas banned the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors,
declaring them to be a public nuisance. In an early application of the so-called nuisance exception,
the Court upheld the ban even though it severely reduced the value of
existing breweries, stating: "A prohibition simply upon the use of
property for purposes that are declared, by valid legislation, to be
injurious to the health, morals, or safety of the community, cannot, in
any just sense, be deemed a taking or an appropriation of the property for
the public benefit."
239 U.S. 394 (1915).
Court upheld a municipal prohibition on brickmaking within
city limits even though the ban allegedly reduced the value
of Hadacheck's land by 92.5% (from $800,000 to $60,000).
While noting that the police power may not be exercised
arbitrarily, the Court stressed that the police power is one
of the most essential, and "least limitable," powers
Coal Co. v. Mahon,
260 U.S. 393 (1922).
Coal sold the surface rights to land,
but it reserved the right to remove the coal from under the
land. The state
then enacted a statute that prohibited coal mining if it threatened
subsidence and damage to structures on the surface.
The Court ruled that the restriction constituted a
taking of the coal because the law made it commercially impractical
for the company to mine the coal and thus had the same effect
as appropriating the coal, which was recognized as a separate
estate under state law. In the first decision to hold that
a land use restriction constituted a taking, the Court noted
that "property may be regulated to a certain extent,
[but] if regulation goes too far it will be recognized as
of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926).
Court upheld a zoning ordinance against allegations that the
government confiscated property in violation of the Due Process
Clause where the ordinance reduced the value of the claimant's
land by 75% (from $10,000 per acre to $2,500 per acre). Although
due process challenges, the landowner alleged that the ordinance
effectively confiscated the property.
The Penn Central Court cited this case for
the proposition that diminution in value, by itself, cannot
establish a taking.
v. Schoene, 276 U.S. 272 (1928).
the Cedar Rust Act of Virginia, the state ordered the claimants
to cut down diseased ornamental red cedar trees on their land
to prevent contamination of nearby apple orchards.
The Court upheld the statute, stating that it "need
not weigh with nicety the question whether the infected cedars
constitute a nuisance according to the common law, or whether
they may be so declared by statute."
Finding a preponderant public concern in the preservation
of the orchards, the Court ruled that the legislative choice
to protect the orchards over the cedars is a constitutional
exercise of the police power.
v. Town of Hempstead, 369
U.S. 590 (1962).
Court unanimously rejected a challenge to a town ordinance
that prohibited the claimants from mining sand and gravel
on their land, as they had done since 1927.
Stating that it made no difference whether the mining
would have constituted a common-law nuisance, the Court concluded
that no taking occurred because the record failed to show
that the prohibition reduced the value of the lot or was an
unreasonable exercise of the police power.
Central Transportation Co. v. City of New York,
438 U.S. 104 (1978).
New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission applied an
historic preservation law to deny the owners of Grand Central
Terminal permission to build a 50-plus story office building
over the Terminal. The
Supreme Court reviewed three factors in determining that the
permit denial did not constitute a regulatory taking: (1)
the character of the governmental action; (2) the economic
impact of the regulation on the landowners; and (3) the extent
to which the regulation interfered with investment-backed
Court also held that regulatory takings analysis should focus
on the landowner's parcel as a whole, not just the portion
of the property affected by the challenged regulation.
v. Allard, 444 U.S. 51 (1979).
Court ruled that no taking occurred where federal law prohibited
the sale of artifacts made from the feathers of federally
protected birds, even though the ban might have left the owners
without any economically beneficial use of the artifacts.
The Lucas Court
cited Andrus for
the proposition that due to the government's longstanding
regulation of commercial dealings, owners ought to expect
that new regulation might render personal property economically
worthless without triggering the Takings Clause.
v. Monsanto Co., 467 U.S.
claimant contended that 1978 amendments to the federal pesticide
laws effected a taking of trade secrets submitted with applications
for pesticide registrations because the statute allowed the
government to disclose the data and to consider it in connection
with applications made by others.
In a comprehensive analysis of Monsanto’s expectations,
the Court held that there was no taking of data submitted
after the 1978 amendments because the applicant knew at the
time of submission that the statute authorized such use and
Court also held that there was no taking of data submitted
before 1972 because, due to the heavy regulation of pesticides,
the claimant lacked a reasonable expectation of confidentiality.
For data submitted between 1972 and 1978, however,
the Court found a taking that because the law in effect during
those years created an expectation of confidentiality.
Because the Tucker Act provided a monetary remedy for
the taking, the Court refused to invalidate the challenged
Bituminous Coal Assoc. v. DeBenedictis, 480 U.S. 470 (1987).
facts strikingly similar to those in Mahon,
the Court in Keystone
rejected a facial takings challenge to the Pennsylvania
Subsidence Act, which required that 50% of the coal beneath
certain structures be kept in place to provide surface support.
The Court reaffirmed Penn
Central's parcel-as-a-whole rule, rejecting the claim
that the Act completely took 27 million tons of coal required
to be left in the ground because that coal comprised less
than 2% of the total coal in the mines covered by the protections.
In addition, the Court invoked the so-called nuisance
exception to conclude that government action designed to stop
serious harm does not constitute a taking even where it destroys
the value of property.
v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003 (1992).
challenged the South Carolina Coastal Council's application
of the state's Beachfront Management Act to deny Lucas a permit
to build a homes on two beachfront lots.
The Court ruled that a per se taking occurs
where regulation denies a landowner all economically beneficial
use and value of the land.
The Court further held that in such a case the government
could avoid liability by showing that the challenged restriction
is justified by "background principles" of law in
effect at the time the landowner bought the property.
The background-principles defense also is available
in other kinds of takings cases, and lower courts have been
receptive to arguments based on background principles.
Pipe and Products of California, Inc. v. Construction Laborers
Pension Trust, 508 U.S.
Court relied on the parcel-as-a-whole rule to reject a takings
challenge to federal pension plan protections, stating: "[A]
claimant's parcel of property [may] not first be divided into
what was taken and what was left for the purpose of demonstrating
the taking of the former to be complete and hence compensable.
To the extent that any portion of property is taken,
that portion is always taken in its entirety; the relevant
question, however, is whether the property taken is all, or
only a portion of, the parcel in question."
INVASIONS AND OCCUPATIONS
v. Green Bay Co., 80 U.S. (13
Wall.) 166 (1872).
Court held that a taking occurred where a state-authorized
dam caused the flooding of private property from the time
of the dam's completion to the commencement of the landowner's
Court observed that it would be a "very curious and unsatisfactory
result" to conclude "that if the government refrains
from the absolute conversion of real property to the uses
of the public it can destroy its value entirely, can inflict
irreparable and permanent injury to any extent, can, in effect,
subject it to total destruction without making any compensation
the flooding was the functional equivalent of an expropriation,
the court found a taking.
v. Washington Terminal Co.,
233 U.S. 546 (1914).
landowner sought compensation for harm to the land caused
by a railroad authorized by various acts of Congress.
The Court ruled that, in general, there could be no
recovery for “noises and vibrations incident to the running
of trains, the necessary emissions of smoke and sparks from
the locomotives, and similar annoyances inseparable from the
normal and non-negligent operation of a railroad.”
The Court awarded damages, however, for harm attributable
to a tunnel fan that blew exhaust fumes from a railroad tunnel
directly onto the property.
Construing the governing statutes in light of the Takings
Clause, the Court held that the statutes did "not authorize
the imposition of so direct and peculiar and substantial a
burden" without compensation.
v. United States,
264 U.S. 146 (1924).
periods of heavy rainfall, a river near the claimant's property
often overflowed onto the property.
After the government built a canal on this river, the
overflows became more severe, resulting in damage to crops,
trees, and the property itself.
The Court ruled that to effect a taking, the overflow
must "be the direct result of the structure, and constitute
an actual, permanent invasion of the land, amounting to an
appropriation of and not merely an injury to the property."
The Court ruled that no taking occurred because the
landowner's injury was indirect and consequential.
States v. Causby,
328 U.S. 256 (1946).
argued that flights of military aircraft over their land at
low altitudes prevented them from using their land as a chicken
farm and thus constituted a taking. The Court held that "[f]lights
over private land are not a taking, unless they are so low
and so frequent as to be a direct and immediate interference
with the enjoyment and use of the land."
Because the flights at issue were frequent, low-level,
and the direct and immediate cause of a reduction in value
of the land in question, the Court found a taking.
Aetna v. United States,
444 U.S. 164 (1979).
landowner and its lessee turned a privately owned pond into
a marina that connected to a navigable bay.
After they invested millions of dollars to develop
a marina-style community around the pond, the federal government
claimed that the owner and lessee had to allow public access
to the marina because it was navigable water of the United
States. The Court
held that requiring public access would constitute a taking,
concluding that on these facts the government could not take
the owners' right to exclude others without compensation.
Shopping Center v. Robins,
447 U.S. 74 (1980).
Court found no taking where California law compelled a shopping
center to permit high school students to distribute literature
on its property during business hours.
The Court noted
that the students' presence did not unreasonably diminish
the value or use of the shopping center.
Although the Court acknowledged that California law
impaired the shopping center's right to exclude others, the
Court refused to find this circumstance to be controlling.
v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., 458 U.S. 419 (1982).
Court found a taking where a state law required a landlord
to allow a cable television operator to install cables and
other equipment on the rooftop of the landlord's apartment
Court held that a government-compelled, permanent physical
occupation of private property is a per se taking.
The Court explained that that in permanent occupation
cases, unlike temporary invasion and regulatory takings cases,
the character of the governmental action is not merely relevant,
v. Florida Power Corp.,
480 U.S. 245 (1987).
utilities challenged a federal statute that authorized the
Federal Communications Commission to regulate the rents charged
by the utilities to cable television operators for the use
of utility poles. The
Court rejected the takings claim because nothing in the statute
required the utilities to act as lessors, and the utilities
could avoid any occupation of their poles by evicting the
v. City of Escondido, 503 U.S. 519
The Yees claimed that Escondido’s mobile
home rent control law, coupled with a California zoning law
that restricted their ability to terminate the tenancy of
a mobile home owner, constituted a taking as a permanent physical
occupation because the laws forced them to rent indefinitely
to tenants at a below market rate. The Supreme Court ruled that the
state had not authorized or compelled a permanent physical
invasion because the Yees invited the tenants onto their property
and could terminate their tenancy by changing the use of the
Court stated: “The government effects a physical taking only
where it requires the landowner to submit to the physical
occupation of his land.
‘This element of required acquiescence is at the heart
of the concept of occupation.’”
v. California Coastal Commission,
483 U.S. 825 (1987).
Nollans sought a permit from the California Coastal Commission
to replace a beachfront bungalow with a larger house.
Concerned that the larger structure would worsen the
visual barrier between the road and the beach, the Commission
conditioned the permit on the transfer of a public easement
along the beach to enhance access to two nearby public beaches.
The Court found that the condition constituted a taking
because the dedication did not bear an logical nexus to the
harm the Commission sought to address.
The Court concluded that a beachfront easement for
use by people already on the public beaches would not reduce
any obstacle to viewing the beach created by the new house.
v. City of Tigard,
512 U.S. 374 (1994).
Dolan sought a permit to expand a retail store and paved parking
lot. Because the expansion would increase
flood risks and traffic congestion, the city conditioned the
permit on a dedication of land for use as a public greenway
to minimize flooding and as a bike and walking path to reduce
street traffic. Although
the Court determined that the dedication requirement met the
Nollan nexus test, the Court ruled that
to survive scrutiny under the Takings Clause, the dedication
must be "roughly proportional" to the expected impact
of the proposed development.
v. City of Cambridge,
277 U.S. 183 (1928).
this due process case, the Court invalidated a zoning ordinance
as applied to a landowner whose land was restricted to residential
on the findings of a master that the zoning did not promote
health, safety or general welfare, the Court struck down the
ordinance as applied because it did not bear a substantial
relation to these goals.
v. City of Tiburon,
447 U.S. 255 (1980).
Court rejected a takings challenge to zoning ordinances that
allowed the claimants to build between one and five homes
on their five-acre parcel.
Because the landowners had not submitted a development
plan as permitted by the ordinances, the Court concluded that
there was no concrete controversy regarding the application
of the ordinances to the land.
The Court also held that there was no facial taking
because the ordinances did not deny the landowners all economically
viable use of the land and substantially advanced the state's
legitimate interest in preserving open space.
Enterprises v. Apfel,
524 U.S. 498 (1998).
Eastern Enterprises, a coal company challenged
the federal Coal Industry Retiree Health Benefit Act.
A four-justice plurality concluded that the Act as
applied violated the Takings Clause because it imposed a severe,
disproportionate, and extremely retroactive burden on the
justices (one concurring in the judgment and dissenting in
part, four in dissent) concluded that the Takings Clause does
not apply to government actions that simply impose a financial
obligation without affecting a specific, identified property
same five Justices seriously questioned whether the Takings
Clause (as opposed to the Due Process Clause) should be used
to review the reasonableness of government action.
Justice Kennedy provided the fifth vote for invalidation
by finding a violation of due process.
English Evangelical Lutheran Church v. County of Los Angeles,
482 U.S. 304 (1987).
church challenged a ban on development in a flood plain imposed
after a flood destroyed the church's campground for mentally-retarded
lower courts refused to allow the church to pursue a claim
for money damages. The
Supreme Court assumed that the ban effected a taking and thus
isolated the question of whether invalidation is a sufficient
remedy for an uncompensated taking.
The Court held that invalidation by itself is inadequate
because the Fifth Amendment requires a monetary remedy.
When faced with a judicial ruling that a regulatory
taking has occurred, the government may either (1) keep the
regulation in effect and pay the owner for a permanent taking,
or (2) rescind the regulation and pay temporary damages for
the time the regulation was in effect.
v. Virginia Surface Mining & Reclamation Ass'n, 452
U.S. 264 (1981).
Court rejected a facial takings challenge to federal statutory
restrictions on surface mining because the restrictions (for
the most part) did not categorically prohibit surface coal
mining but only regulated the conditions under which surface
mining could be conducted.
Nor did the statute regulate alternative uses of coal-bearing
land. In an early application of finality
ripeness requirements, the Court deemed the claimants' as-applied
takings challenge premature because they had not availed themselves
of administrative relief procedures provided by the statute.
County Regional Planning Comm'n v. Hamilton Bank,
473 U.S. 172 (1985).
A county regional planning commission
applied various zoning laws and regulations to deny a landowner
permission to develop a residential subdivision.
The landowner filed a takings claim against the planning
commission in federal court under §1983. The Supreme Court held that before
a landowner may bring a taking suit against a local government
in federal court, the owner must (1) obtain a final decision
regarding the application of the challenged regulations to
its property, and (2) pursue compensation remedies available
under state law.
Sommer & Frates v. County of Yolo, 477
U.S. 340 (1986).
The Court ruled that the submission
of a single development proposal by the claimant did not ripen
a takings claim where the local government "[left] open
the possibility that some development will be permitted."
The Court observed that a court cannot determine whether
regulation "goes too far" under
Mahon "unless it knows how far the regulation goes."
Although a takings claimant need not pursue piecemeal,
unfair, or futile procedures to ripen a claim, the rejection
of a single application does not necessarily imply that the
government will reject a less ambitious proposal.
v. ICC, 494 U.S. 1 (1990).
claimed that they had a reversionary interest in abandoned
railroad tracks adjacent to their land and that a government-authorized
conversion of the abandoned tracks into public trails constituted
a taking. The
Court dismissed the landowners' claim as premature because
they did not make use of an available remedy for compensation
against the United States under the Tucker Act.
Because the Takings Clause prohibits only uncompensated
takings, the Court held that the landowners must pursue the
Tucker Act remedy before they could claim that the government
took their land without just compensation.
v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 520 U.S. 725 (1997).
Suitum argued that the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency effected
a regulatory taking when it determined that her residential
lot was ineligible for development under restrictions designed
to protect Lake Tahoe.
The Agency argue that the claim was unripe because
Suitum had not attempted to sell Transferable Development
Rights (TDRs) to which she was entitled.
After reaffirming its established ripeness doctrine
in takings cases, the Court held that the claim was ripe because
the value of her land could be determined without a sale of
of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd.,
526 U.S. 687 (1999).
The Court ruled 5-4 that a takings claimant
seeking money damages or other legal relief in federal court
under § 1983 is entitled to a jury trial on certain issues.
These issues include whether the challenged regulation
has denied the landowner all economically viable use of the
land and, on the unusual facts of Del Monte Dunes, whether the regulation
substantially advances a legitimate state interest.
The practical implications of the jury trial ruling
appear to be narrow given the Court's reaffirmation that takings
claimants generally cannot proceed in federal court without
first seeking compensation in state court. The Court also
concluded that Dolan's
rough proportionality test is limited to the dedications.
v. Parker, 348
U.S. 26 (1954).
federal District of Columbia Redevelopment Act of 1945 created
a program to redevelop substandard housing and blighted areas
in Washington, D.C.
The Act created the Redevelopment Land Agency, which
had the power of eminent domain to acquire real property as
part of the redevelopment program.
Berman, the owner of a department store, argued that
the government could not acquire his property through eminent
domain because the property would be redeveloped for private
use and thus violate the requirement in the Takings Clause
that any taking be for a public use.
The Court held that the redevelopment of the District
of Columbia was a public purpose for which the United States
could properly exercise its power of eminent domain.
The Court stressed that legislative declaration of
the public interest is "well-nigh conclusive."
Housing Authority v. Midkiff,
467 U.S. 229 (1984).
reduce the economic and social harm created by the land oligopoly
in Hawaii, the Hawaii Land Reform Act permitted the state
to buy land owned by lessors at prices set either by condemnation
trial or by negotiation, and resell the land to the lessees
of the property. Landowners
argued that the scheme was unconstitutional because the property
was used to serve the interests of the individual lessees,
rather than the interests of the public, and thus was not
for "public use" as required by the Takings Clause.
The Court confirmed that the Clause forbids the government
from taking property when the taking confers only a private
benefit, without a public purpose, even where the government
is willing to pay compensation.
The remedy for such a taking would be invalidation.
The Court held, however, that the law at issue did
not violate the public-use requirement because regulating
oligopoly and the evils associated with it benefits the public.
The Court emphasized that its role in enforcing the
public-use requirement is extremely narrow, and that the legislature's
declaration of a public use is entitled to great deference.