Government Tells Owners, "Can't Use Property" - SLF Files Supreme Court Brief

WASHINGTON, DC/ATLANTA, GA, April 18, 2016: Can't sell or use your property? Let's see what the Supreme Court has to say about it . . . SLF, joined by The Beacon Center, files amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the constitutional property rights.

The Murr family purchased a lakefront residential lot in 1960 and built a recreational cabin on it. Several years later they purchased the lot next door as an investment. The Murr children now want to sell the investment lot and use the money to renovate the cabin, so that future generations of Murrs can enjoy summers at the lake.

Happens a thousand times a day across the America, right?

Unfortunately, a 1975 county ordinance stands in their way. After seeking and being denied a variance, the Murrs filed suit in federal court seeking compensation for the taking of their land. The Wisconsin courts declined to find a taking simply because the Murrs lots were contiguous and shared the same owner. In other words, if one lot was owned by 2 of the Murr children and the other lot was owned by the other 2 Murr children, it would have found a taking. Or if the lots were not directly next door to one another, it would have found a taking.

SLF and The Beacon Center argues that the lower court’s aggregation of two contiguous lots that have otherwise been treated separately is neither fair nor just because it deprives the property owners of all economically viable use of one of those lots.

In its brief, they advocate for the Supreme Court to devise a test for evaluating future attempts to aggregate property such as the multi-factor test applied by several lower courts. Such a test supports the Murrs’ argument that Takings Clause jurisprudence supports a presumption that where a single parcel is alleged to have been taken, the parcel as a whole is that single parcel, nothing more and nothing less.

Click here for Supreme Court brief, April 18, 2016

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