Deaton v. U.S. -- Fighting Army Corps’ Encroachment on Private-Property Rights

Author: R Stell Date: June 16, 2005

The NFIB Legal Foundation filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging the court to hear a case that challenged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ attempt to regulate private land. The Deaton family dug a drainage ditch on their Maryland property that connects to a roadside ditch in order to build a small subdivision with five houses. The Corps decided that the roadside ditch was a “navigable water” and that the adjacent land was a wetland. Therefore, the Deaton family was required to apply for a Clean Water Act permit before they could develop their property. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the Corps’ decision that authorized jurisdiction over “any branch of a tributary system that eventually flows into a navigable body of water.”

Status: Decided. Amicus brief in support of Deaton’s petition for review filed Jan. 29, 2004. Certiorari review denied by U.S. Supreme Court April 5, 2004.

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