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 argued in a supporting brief that the economic development rationale is commonly used to circumvent the Constitution’s prohibition against private takings. The decision from the United States Supreme Court was unfavorable, in that the Court denied the Petition for Writ of Certiorari.

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