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Landlord Tenant Law Litigation United States Supreme Court

Knick: Opening the Federal Courts to Taking Claims

When a landowner contends that government action has effected a taking of her property without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, where can she sue? Until this past June, when the Supreme Court decided Knick v. Township of Scott, the answer was clear: state court and only state court. Knick changed all that.

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When a landowner contends that government action has effected a taking of her property without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, where can she sue? Until this past June, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Knick v. Township of Scott, 139 S. Ct. 2162 (June 2019), the answer was clear: state court and only state court. Knick changed all that. The Court overruled Williamson County v. Hamilton Bank, 473 U. S. 172 and held that a landowner who claimed to have suffered a taking at the hands of state or local officials could seek redress in federal court without the need to first seek compensation through state proceedings. The Court’s holding may channel more takings cases into federal courts, but leaves those courts with some unresolved questions.

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