Property Rights

St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District v. Violet Dock Port, Inc., LLC

“Economic development” cannot justify condemnation for a public use

The St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District condemned Violet Dock Port’s property in order to hand it over to a competitor’s business—merely because the district believed that the competitor could operate the dock better and charge more favorable rates. A Louisiana appellate court upheld the condemnation as a valid “public use” because the government said it would help the area’s economic development. In January 2018, the state supreme court delivered a mixed decision and denied a rehearing. Violet Dock Port has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. PLF argues in a supporting brief that the economic development rationale is commonly used to circumvent the Constitution’s prohibition against private takings.

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