Christina M. Martin

Attorney Florida

Christina Martin is an attorney at PLF’s Florida office in Palm Beach Gardens. She fights to bring justice to her clients, and set precedents that help protect individuals across the country from government overreach.

Christina served as co-counsel and second-chair before the U.S. Supreme Court in Knick v. Township of Scott, a landmark case that opened the federal courthouse doors to federal constitutional takings claims and overturned a bad 34-year-old Supreme Court decision. She was also on the litigation team representing several family landowners, including Markle Interests, in another victorious Supreme Court case, Weyerhaeuser v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service, an 8-0 win for the property owners.

Christina’s current practice focuses largely on ending unconstitutional taking of valuable homes and land as payment for relatively small property tax debts. She is lead counsel before the Michigan Supreme Court in one such case where her client’s entire rental home was taken as payment for an $8.41 tax debt. Her advocacy also led to a new law passed in Montana that will protect homes from such unconstitutional theft of equity. Under the new law, tax delinquent homes in Montana will be sold to the highest bidder, debts paid off, and the extra profits will be refunded to the former owner.

Her writings have been featured in a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The Hill, and Willamette Law Review. She is also a frequent guest on radio shows, has spoken at conferences, and has been a guest lecturer at universities.

Christina earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Washington in Seattle. She earned her J.D. from Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was an editor of the Ave Maria Law Review. She is admitted to the state bars of Florida and Oregon, as well as various federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

When not working, Christina enjoys painting landscapes, traveling with her husband, and exploring new restaurants and coffee shops.

Erica Perez Perez v. Wayne County

Family fights home equity theft to protect the American Dream

Though Erica Perez and her family spent most of their lives in New Jersey, they had their sights set on Detroit to join their relatives who already lived there. In 2012, Erica and her father Romualdo bought a property containing a four-unit apartment building and a dilapidated single-family home in Detroit for $60,000. They spent three years fixing ...

Timbs v. Indiana

Excessive Fines Clause applies to all governments

PLF has joined a crucial case brought by our allies at Institute for Justice to address a situation faced by many PLF clients—fines and forfeitures that far outweigh their alleged offenses. Tyson Timbs argues in a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court that such disproportionate punishments by state and local governments violate the Eighth Amendment& ...

Pacetta, LLC v. The Town of Ponce Inlet

Asking the Supreme Court to revive property rights protections

Urged by the town of Ponce Inlet, Florida, Lyder and Simone Johnson bought a number of land parcels and planned a new development through their business, Pacetta, LLC. Town leaders wanted the development so badly, they began revamping the town’s comprehensive land use plan, which would not have allowed the project at the time. But after an el ...

Taylor v. Polhill, et al

Florida’s outdated licensing robs hearing, livelihoods

In Florida, you need a license to sell hearing aids. Dan Taylor of Melbourne, Florida, gave up his license after 30 years, because Florida’s outdated regulations were made for older models, not the updated, technologically sophisticated models he and his customers prefer. In a federal lawsuit on behalf of Dan, PLF argues that Florida’s ...

Nemhauser v. City of Mount Dora

City apologizes after violating First Amendment rights

What started as artistic expression in Mount Dora, Florida, escalated into a bureaucratic nightmare for Nancy Nemhauser and Lubomir Jastrzebski. When the couple painted a van Gogh-style “The Starry Night” mural on a wall outside their house, the city declared the art “graffiti” because it didn’t match the color of the ...

Rafaeli, LLC v. Oakland County

Michigan County Steals House for $8 Debt

In 2014, Oakland County, Michigan foreclosed on a home owned by Uri Rafaeli’s business—Rafaeli, LLC—over an $8.41 tax debt. The County sold the property for $24,500, and kept profits. Ditto for Andre Ohanessian, when the County seized and sold his property for $82,000, and pocketed every penny left over from the $6,000 tax debt. While mos ...

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July 09, 2019

The government stole their property. Now the Perez family is fighting against home equity theft

Six years ago, Erica Perez and her father, Romualdo, purchased a small, $60,000 apartment complex in Detroit. They were pursuing their American dream. Romualdo has family in Detroit, so part of his retirement plan was to fix up the complex, along with a small home next door, and spend his golden years with his family, ...

June 27, 2019

The Hill: Landmark Supreme Court decision revives property rights

Rose Knick, who lives on her farm in rural Pennsylvania, didn't initially set out to overturn a decades-old Supreme Court precedent or to help property owners across the country. She just wanted justice when town officials threatened her with crippling fines. But as time passed, she found a greater purpose in her struggle: setting a ...

June 21, 2019

Justice for Rose: Landmark Supreme Court decision opens federal courts to property rights claims

Today, the Supreme Court gave property owners everywhere a major victory, overturning a 34-year precedent that has robbed countless individuals of their property rights. And you have an unassuming woman in rural Pennsylvania to thank. In a 5-4 opinion on Knick v. Township of Scott written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Justices held that ...

June 14, 2019

How local governments are using foreclosure laws to steal people’s homes

A few years ago, my husband and I rented a car while visiting Italy. We had great fun driving to small towns off the beaten path. But about six months after we returned, I received a $250 ticket in the mail for accidentally driving onto a "locals only" road. If we had received the ticket ...

May 10, 2019

National coalition joins PLF against government-sanctioned home theft

PLF client Uri Rafaeli accidentally underpaid the property taxes on his Southfield Michigan house by $8.41. So Oakland County took Rafaeli's house to collect on the small debt. The County also took PLF client Andre Ohanessian's 2.7 acres of valuable land in Orchard Village to collect a $6,000 debt. The County sold both properties and ...

May 08, 2019

New Montana Law will save homes by ending state’s predatory tax foreclosure system

During the last recession, Gary Guidotti, a 78-year old electrician in Cascade County, Montana, fell behind on his property taxes. Under Montana's tax law, the county took his home because of the $1,125 tax debt and sold it to investors for pennies on the dollar. Guidotti lost everything while investors reaped a windfall—taking absolute title ...

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