President's weekly report — April 3, 2015

April 03, 2015 | By ROB RIVETT

Big day for Liberty — Property rights in California

The California Supreme Court will hear arguments this Wednesday, April 8, in California Building Industry Association v. San Jose.  This is the case where the City is demanding that builders of 20 or more market-rate homes contribute three homes to the city’s supply of “affordable” housing by selling those homes for less than what they are worth to low-income buyers and slapping on deed restrictions to cement in the price reductions.  Alternatively, the builders can give the City land or cash — at $122,000 per home.  What is fairly bizarre about these affordable housing schemes is that there is no credible economic theory that holds building new homes creates a need for more subsidized homes, nor that dramatically increasing the cost of new homes does anything but make the cost of housing more, not less, expensive.  We also think such schemes are unconstitutional for a variety of reasons explained in this article.  For more on the case and our briefs which explain the particular reasons why this ordinance is illegal, visit our case page here.  You can also listen to our podcast here.

Tort reform — Loss in Florida

The Supreme Court of Florida handed down this unfortunate decision in Limones v. School District of Lee County. Here,  a high-school student collapsed with a heart attack during a soccer game. Paramedics were able to revive him, but he remains severely impaired.  His parents sued arguing the school should have had used an AED (arterial defibrillation device) that might have saved him.  As our blog reports here, “inventing a new legal duty for public schools to use an AED in life-threatening situations will likely affect every sports facility or program that is made available for youth athletics. They will all have to prepare to use an AED if an athlete collapses — or face legal and financial liability.”  We had filed this amicus brief urging caution before imposing expensive new liabilities on youth athletics; otherwise such worthwhile programs may become limited.

Competitor’s veto — Montana

We filed this opposition to the Montana’s motion to dismiss our challenge to Montana’s competitor’s veto law in Pabst v. Fox.  We are representing Tracie Pabst in her attempt to expand her successful transportation business to include a taxi business in Big Sky, Montana.  However, the state says before she can do that she must get her competitors to agree. As our blog explains, we are opposing the state’s suggestion that before she can file suit, Tracie must submit to the very procedure she is challenging as unconstitutional.

Free Speech — Work continues in Virginia

We are continuing our litigation in McLean v. City of Alexandria over that City’s recently rescinded ordinance that forbade the placing of “For Sale” signs on cars parked on City streets.  This week we filed this brief asking the court not to dismiss the case and instead, with this summary judgment brief, rule in our favor on the unconstitutionality of the ordinance. For more information, see our blog here.