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Property Rights

Seider v. City of Malibu

Property rights on the line in family’s battle for beachfront signage

Dennis and Leah Seider simply want to alert beachgoers to where the public right of access to the beach ends, the Seiders’ private Malibu property begins, and the way to the nearby public beach. Their best hope to protect their property rights and avoid potential confrontations with beachgoers would be a sign. But that hope faded when they le ...

cement building Adamski v. California Coastal Commission

Builders battle the California Coastal Commission’s basement ban

When Chris Adamski, a Monterey County, California contractor, and his longtime mentor and friend Mike Pietro bought four properties in the county’s Carmel Point neighborhood in 2014, they planned to develop two houses to sell, and then build one house for each of them—Chris for his large family, and Mike for retirement. The California Coast ...

foreclosure Barnette v. HBI, LLC

Taking tax-foreclosed property requires proper notice

In 2002, Walter Barnette was working in the Omaha suburb of Bellevue when he spotted an acre of land in a growing neighborhood. Though he lives across the nearby border with Iowa, he bought the property with the intent of one day building a home. Walter fell on hard times, however, and failed to pay his 2010 and 2011 property taxes—$986.50—to S ...

Key in Lock El Papel v. City of Seattle

Fighting unlawful eviction bans masked as a pandemic response

In the wake of COVID-19, Washington State and Seattle joined a number of cities and states to enact emergency eviction bans that eliminated landlords’ ability to evict tenants who violate lease terms, such as by neglecting to pay their rent. Seattle added an ordinance that prohibits landlords from seeking full repayment for up to a year from ...

Shands v. City of Marathon

Government takes family’s land and uses gimmicks to avoid paying for it

The Shands family has owned Shands Key, a small Florida island, since the 1950s. Purchased by World War II surgeon and Mississippi hospital owner Dr. R.E. Shands, the island was originally zoned for residential use and could have been developed with at least seven homes. Today, however, government regulations designed to protect the environment pro ...

Christensen v. California Judicial Council

Fighting for property rights against California Judicial Council’s eviction ban

Eviction is a critical tool for landlords to manage their property by removing tenants who refuse to pay rent or create nuisances and safety hazards. The process allows landlords to remove tenants who deliberately withhold rent or damage property, so that they can aid tenants experiencing hardship and offer housing to good renters—a particularly ...

Donnelly v. City of San Marino

Holding local California governments accountable for banning “granny flats”

Accessory dwelling units, better known as “in-law apartments” or “granny flats,” have long been recognized as a valuable and essential component of California’s response to the state’s worsening housing shortage. So essential in fact, state law establishes a right to build ADUs, severely limiting local government ...

Federal lawsuit filed to protect private ranch property Hollister Ranch Owners’ Association v. Xavier Becerra

Ranch owners fight legislation that gives the government unfettered access to private, sensitive coastal land and potentially punishes owners for defending their way of life

Hollister Ranch, California, is widely known for its 150 years as a working cattle ranch and for its biologically significant coastal habitat spread across miles of shoreline downcoast of California’s Point Conception. Over the years, the ranch has carefully restricted development and activity on its 14,400 acres in order to protect the exist ...

United States v. LaPant

Bureaucrats can’t rewrite the law just because they don’t like it

Jack LaPant thought that he had properly navigated all the necessary regulations under the federal Clean Water Act when he plowed his northern California farmland in 2011 to grow wheat. Multiple agencies said he did not need a permit; but in 2016, government bureaucrats sued Jack for not obtaining a permit, even though the Clean Water Act doesnR ...

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