Clarity coming to vexing property rights issue; Adam Martinez, Chairman of Rose Law Group Real Estate Litigation Department, provides insight

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-4-55-55-pmBy Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine

A case critical to protecting private property rights in the United States has gotten caught up in the political stalemate over the U.S. Supreme Court. However, it should get its hearing next year and be decided by summer, according to John Groen, principal attorney at the nonrofit Pacific Legal Foundation, who will be arguing the for the plaintiffs.

Groen told attendees Saturday at the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla., that the case, Murr v. Wisconsin, is expected to be a defining one in a decades-long battle over an issue referred to in the legal profession as “parcel as a whole.”


“Clarity from the Supreme Court on this issue is extremely important for property owners: What parcel of land should be considered when deciding whether a state or local regulation constitutes a “taking” that requires just compensation?

“The Murrs are just one example of landowners who for years have been told by their government that they do not deserve compensation when a government regulation renders an entire parcel of land useless because, when considering all of their parcels “as a whole,” they still have some use of the land. However, what matters to property owners is whether their property has been “taken” by a government regulation, not whether the property owner can still use other commonly owned lots.

“Arizona has joined Nevada and eight other states in filing a brief in support of the Murrs and urging the Supreme Court to protect private property rights and curb the expansive interpretation of the “parcel as a whole” rule advanced by Wisconsin.”

~ Adam Martinez

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November 2016