April 24, 2017

Talking Murr in Napa

By Damien M. Schiff Senior Attorney

Friday I had the honor of participating in the panel discussion Property Rights, Inverse Condemnation & Government Land Use Regulation, during the 36th Real Property Law Section Retreat for the California State Bar. My remarks focused on Murr v. Wisconsin and its importance to the “relevant parcel” analysis and regulatory takings law generally. Many thanks to the panel’s moderator Stephen Cassidy (of Powlan Cassidy Law LLP) and to the State Bar for the opportunity.

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Murr v. Wisconsin

The Murr family owned two separately deeded lots that were purchased independently by their parents in the 1960s. They built a small cabin on one lot and held the other one as an investment for the future. But when the time came to sell, subsequently enacted regulations forbade the Murrs from making any productive use of the vacant lot – and without any use, it had no value they could sell. PLF represents in the Murrs in a lawsuit arguing that the regulation was an uncompensated taking because it took away all the use and value of the lot. The courts ruled against the family because they owned the adjacent lot with the cabin, and therefore hadn’t lost everything.

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