Property Rights

Kent Recycling Services, LLC v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Landowners win right to challenge wetland determinations in court

Kent Recycling Services wanted to establish a solid waste landfill in Louisiana. But an overzealous Corps of Engineers issued a Jurisdictional Determination claiming the property contained wetlands subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act. Kent disputed this claim and sued. Lower courts rejected his lawsuit as unripe on the theory that the determination was not a final order and PLF, representing Kent, petitioned the Supreme Court to review the case. The Court originally declined, but a few days later the Eighth Circuit decision in Hawkes created a Circuit split on the precise issue before the Court. PLF asked the Court to reconsider. A few days after the Hawkes victory affirming landowners’ right to their day in court, the Court vacated the lower court decision in this case and ordered it to reconsider the case in light of the ruling in Hawkes.

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