True North’s amicus brief asks the Court to take up and overturn the decision of the Fifth Circuit, which wrongly held the government doesn’t need to compensate landowners unless and until the legislature appropriates the compensation.

True North Law filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf property rights advocacy groups, including Reason Foundation, Southeastern Legal Foundation, National Association of Reversionary Property Owners, and property law scholar Professor James W. Ely, Jr., asking the Court to review and overturn the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Ariyan, Inc. v. Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans.

When the Sewerage Board of New Orleans damaged the property of seventy landowners in 2013 but refused to pay them compensation, the owners sued the Sewerage Board in Louisiana state court, winning judgments against it totaling $10.5 million under the Fifth Amendment’s Just Compensation Clause.  But the Sewerage Board refused to pay the judgments.  So the landowners had to sue the Sewerage Board again, this time in federal court under Section 1983, to enforce their constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment.  But the Fifth Circuit said the state was not required to pay the compensation ordered by the state courts because the legislature had not appropriated the money.  The landowners now ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case and overturn the Fifth Circuit’s decision because the Fifth Amendment is self-executing and its guarantee of “just compensation” does not depend upon an act of legislative grace.  Read more here.

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