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First English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Glendale v. Los Angeles, County of

Citation: 17 ELR 20787
No. No. 85-1199, 482 U.S. 304/26 ERC 1001/(U.S., 06/09/1987)

The Court rules that under the Just Compensation Clause, where the government has temporarily taken property by means of a land use regulation, the landowner may recover damages for the time during which all use of the property is denied. The Court invalidates that part of the California Supreme Court's decision in Agins v. City of Tiburon, 9 ELR 20260, aff'd on other grounds, 10 ELR 20361, which limits the remedy for a taking to nonmonetary relief. In a challenge to a county ordinance temporarily prohibiting the construction of any building in a flood protection area, the Court holds that the Just Compensation Clause does not limit government interference with private property rights per se, but requires that compensation be paid the landowner when an otherwise proper interference amounts to a taking. The landowner may secure compensation for the loss of use by bringing an action in inverse condemnation, and need not wait for the government to bring formal proceedings to condemn the property through its power of eminent domain. "Temporary" regulatory takings — those takings that are later invalidated by a court — which limit entirely the uses to which property may be put for a period are not different in kind from permanent takings, and, the Court holds, compensation is required in both cases. The Court further holds that once a court has determined that a regulatory taking has occurred, the government may remedy the matter by withdrawing or amending the regulation, or by exercising its power of eminent domain, provided that fair compensation is also paid to the landowner for the time that the property was taken by regulation.

The dissent would hold that the ordinance does not work a taking but is instead a proper exercise of the power to protect public health and safety, and that Agins only requires a landowner to exhaust equitable remedies prior to seeking money damages for the taking.

Counsel for Appellant
Michael M. Berger
Fadem, Berger & Norton
Suite 600, 501 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica CA 90406
(213) 451-9951

Counsel for Appellee
Jack R. White
Hill, Farrer & Burrill
34th Fl., 445 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles CA 90071
(213) 620-0460