Takings of Private Property for Public Use

Regulatory Takings Law: Penn Central v. City of New York

Short video featuring Eric Claeys
Eric R. Claeys August 01, 2017

Why is a state or local government more likely to prevail against a landowner in a regulatory takings dispute? Eric Claeys, Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, gives an overview of the dispute in Penn Central Transportation v. City of New York 438 U.S. 104 (1978), the leading case in regulatory takings law. In this case, a New York court held that Penn Central had not suffered a regulatory taking when the City of New York prevented it from building office space above the station because they still had some use of the property. This case also established a three-part balancing test for measuring compensation in regulatory takings cases.

Eminent Domain: A Comparative Perspective by Professor Ilya Somin, et al. - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
Richard A. Epstein, Ilya Somin July 18, 2017

The taking of private property for development projects has caused controversy in many nations, where it has often been used to benefit powerful interests at the expense of the general public. In their recent book, Eminent Domain: A Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press), editors Ilya Somin, Iljoong Kim, and Hojun Lee use a common framework to analyze the law and economics of eminent domain around the world. They show that seemingly disparate nations face a common set of problems in seeking to regulate the condemnation of private property by the state. They include the tendency to forcibly displace the poor and politically weak for the benefit of those with greater influence, disputes over compensation, and resort to condemnation in cases where it destroys more economic value than it creates. With contributions from leading scholars in the fields of property law and economics, the book offers a comparative perspective and considers a wide range of possible solutions to these problems. Professor Richard Epstein and Professor Ilya Somin joined us to discuss this interesting book.


  • Professor Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
  • Professor Ilya Somin, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

Courthouse Steps: Murr v. Wisconsin Decided - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
James S. Burling June 28, 2017

On June 23, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Murr v. Wisconsin. This is a regulatory takings case which addressed the question: should two legally distinct but commonly owned contiguous parcels be combined, as described in Penn Central Transportation Company v. City of New York, for takings analysis purposes?

In 1960 and 1963, the Murrs purchased two adjacent lots in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, each over an acre in size. In 1994 and 1995, the parents transferred the parcels to their children. These lots became nonconforming due to various setbacks imposed in the 1970s, but a grandfathering provision would have allowed independent and separate uses – but only if the lots were not owned by the same individuals. Seven years later, the children wanted to sell one of the two original lots and were denied permission to do so by the St. Croix County Board of Adjustment. The Murrs sued the state and county and claimed the county’s actions resulted in an uncompensated taking of their property. The trial court granted summary judgement to the state and county and the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin affirmed.

James Burling, Vice President of Litigation at the Pacific Legal Foundation, joined us to discuss this interesting case and offer his thoughts following the decision. 


  • James S. Burling, Vice President of Litigation, Pacific Legal Foundation

Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council at 25 - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
James S. Burling, Eric R. Claeys, Michael A. Wolf April 07, 2017

This spring marks the 25th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council.  In Lucas, a 5-4 Court majority held that a state law can effect a "regulatory taking" and trigger inverse condemnation requirements if it deprives an owner of all viable uses of his land.  Join our panel to hear a discussion of questions such as: Did Lucas mark a major change in Supreme Court regulatory takings doctrine? Was the decision about right, or did it go too far or not far enough?  Is Lucas still relevant to regulatory takings law today, and what are the chances that the decision might be reconsidered or extended?  


  • James S. Burling, Vice President of Litigation, Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Professor Eric R. Claeys, Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School Professor 
  • Michael A. Wolf, Professor of Law, Richard E. Nelson Chair in Local Government, University of Florida Levin College of Law