Private Property Rights
For half a century, unrestrained local and state governments have taken private property not for "public uses"—such as for bridges or public buildings—as permitted by the Constitution, but for private businesses in the name of "economic development." Private homes and businesses have been bulldozed, replaced by newer businesses and homes owned not by the public, but by private, politically powerful individuals and corporations.
The Institute for Justice began its fight against eminent domain abuse by successfully defending Vera Coking, an elderly widow from Atlantic City, against the condemnation of her home by a state agency that sought to take her property and transfer it (at a bargain-basement price) to another private individual: Donald Trump. Trump wanted the property for a limousine parking lot for his customers—hardly a public use.
Until IJ began fighting eminent domain abuse, the presumption was that people like Vera would lose. But thanks to our path-breaking work in the court of law and the court of public opinion, Vera won. The Institute set an important precedent that it continues to build on to this day, preserving property rights nationwide.
The Institute’s cutting-edge property rights litigation also extends to challenging the abuse of civil forfeiture laws and warrantless searches of homes and businesses. We also team up with Professor Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School to weigh in on landmark property rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Current Private Property Cases
- Iowa Forfeiture-United States vs. $32,820.56 from Mrs. Lady’s, Inc. Account #XXXXX23264, No. 13-cv-4102
- Long Island Forfeiture-In the Matter of the Seizure of $446,651.11, No. 2:14-mc-1288
- Philadelphia Forfeiture-Sourovelis v. City of Philadelphia
- Atlantic City Eminent Domain-Casino Reinvestment Development Authority v. Charles and Lucinda Birnbaum et al.
- Florida Vegetable Gardens-Hermine Ricketts and Laurence “Tom” Carroll v. Miami v. Village of Miami Shores, Florida, et. al.
- Michigan Civil Forfeiture-United States v. $ 35,651.11 in U.S. Currency
- MN Rental Caps-Dean v. City of Winona
- Red Wing Rental Inspections-Robert McCaughtry, et al. v. City of Red Wing
- National City, Calif.-Victimizing the Vulnerable: Eminent Domain Abuse in National City, Calif.
- Completed Private Property Cases
- California Civil Forfeiture-United States v. 2601 West Ball Road, Anaheim, Calif., No. 12-CV-01345 AG-MLG
- Massachusetts Civil Forfeiture-United States v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Mass.
- Georgia Forfeiture-Van Meter v. Turner
- Texas Civil Forfeiture-State of Texas v. One 2004 Chevrolet Silverado
- Nashville, Tenn. Eminent Domain-Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency v. Joy Ford
- St. Paul Minn. Property Rights-Saint Paul Port Authority v. Advance Shoring Company
- Utah Asset Forfeiture-Citizens Demand Prosecutors Follow State's Civil Forfeiture Law
- Lakewood, OH, Eminent Domain-Saleet v. City of Lakewood
- Pittsburgh Fifth & Forbes Condemnation-Pittsburgh Fifth and Forbes IJ Beats Back Eminent Domain Abuse in Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh Wool-Pittsburgh Wool IJ Saves Pittsburgh Wool Company from Government Taking
- Park Forest, IL-Black v. Village of Park Forest
- Mississippi, Bouldin and Archie Families-Mississippi Major Economic Impact Authority v. Lonzo Archie MMEIA v. Andrew Archie, Jr.
- Anoka County, Minnesota-Bronczyk v. State of Minnesota
- Yuma, Arizona-Stanphill v. City of Yuma
- New Jersey Civil Forfeiture-State of New Jersey v. One 1990 Ford Thunderbird
- Atlantic City, NJ Condemnation-Casino Reinvestment Development Authority v. Coking
- Mesa, Arizona Eminent Domain Abuse-City of Mesa v. Bailey
- Tempe, Arizona-City of Tempe v. McGregor
- New Hampshire Home Inspections-Smith v. Ayotte
- Georgia Rental Inspections-Brumberg v. City of Marietta
- Strobel Family Investments Eminent Domain Case-Burien v. Strobel Family Investments
- Riviera Beach, Florida Eminent Domain-Wells v. City of Riviera Beach
- Didden-Didden v. Port Chester
- New London, Connecticut-Kelo v. New London
- Norwood, OH Eminent Domain-City of Norwood v. Horney
- New York Eminent Domain-Brody v. Village of Port Chester
- Long Branch, NJ Eminent Domain-City of Long Branch v. Gregory P. Brower
- Amicus Briefs - "Friend of the Court" Briefs filed by IJ
- Daniel Garcia-Mendoza v 2003 Chevy Tahoe-Daniel Garcia-Mendoza v. 2003 Chevy Tahoe Amicus Brief
- N.J.’s Mount Holly, Eminent Domain Amicus - 09-03-13-Mount Holly v. Mount Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc.
- Florida Permitting Case (Koontz Amicus)-Coy A. Koontz, Jr., v. St. Johns River Water Management District
- Nelson v. City of Rochester-Nelson v. City of Rochester
- Florida v. Harris-Florida v. Harris Amicus Brief
- Priest Lake, Idaho Property Rights Amicus-Sackett v. EPA
- Mississippi Eminent Domain Abuse (Amicus)-Speed v. Hosemann, et. al
- Tuck-It-Away-Tuck-It-Away, Inc. v. NY State Urban Development Corp.
- Eagan, Minn. Eminent Domain-Eagan Economic Development Authority v. U-Haul Company of Minnesota, et al.
- Alvarez v. Smith-Alvarez v. Smith Amicus
- Brooklyn, N.Y., Eminent Domain Abuse-Goldstein v. New York State Urban Development Corporation
- Lake Tahoe (IJ Amicus)-Tahoe Sierra Preservation Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
- Milwaukee VFW (Amicus)-City of Milwaukee Post No. 2874 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States v. Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee
- Monterey (IJ Amicus)-City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes
- County of Wayne v. Hathcock-Michigan Supreme Court Halts Eminent Domain For "Economic Development": Court States Poletown Was "Erroneous" (IJ amicus)