NFIB Small Business Legal Center Files Brief Supporting Redress Rights of Property Owners

Date: November 14, 2014
For Immediate Release
Contact:  Eric Reller
202-314-2073 or [email protected]


NFIB Small
Business Legal Center Files Brief Supporting Redress Rights of Property Owners

WASHINGTON, D.C., November
14, 2014
Harned, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center
, made the
following statement in response to NFIB’s amicus
brief filing in Kurtz v. Verizon.

“Small business property owners should be able to have their
day in court. Unfortunately, the often-criticized 1985 Supreme Court decision
in Williamson County Regional Planning
Commission v. Hamilton Bank
prevents any effective redress
for property owners in federal court. Without a meaningful opportunity for
redress, the constitutional guarantee enshrined in the Fifth Amendment, against
uncompensated takings, is meaningless. We urge the Supreme Court to hear this
case to reconsider Williamson County,
and protect property owners – ensuring they have a chance to have a federal
court resolve their federal claims.”

In this case, private
property owners are seeking compensation for the physical invasion of their
properties by Verizon after the company installed boxes on their buildings, as
authorized by New York law. They also allege procedural due process violations.
NFIB argues that the Fifth Amendment requires just compensation to be paid
whenever government (or private entity acting with the blessing of government)
physically invades private property. Since Verizon offered no compensation, the
owners should be able to bring a class action lawsuit in federal court.

However, the Second Circuit held that both takings and due
process claims are unripe until they have received a definitive decision
denying just compensation in state courts. The result is a procedural
purgatory, in which there in no way for a landowner to ever get to federal
court, because federal courts cannot take up a case if a state court has already
rendered a decision. The practical result is that landowners are denied the
opportunity to seek redress of their federal rights in federal court.



NFIB Small Business
Legal Center
 is a 501(c)(3)
organization created to protect the rights of America’s small business owners
by providing advisory material on legal issues and by ensuring that the voice
of small business is heard in the nation’s courts. The National Federation of
Independent Business is the nation’s leading small business association, with
offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals

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