Conti v. United States

291 F.3d 1334 (2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 1112 (2003)

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Conti v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
291 F.3d 1334 (2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 1112 (2003)

  • Written by Robert Cane, JD

Facts

Paul Conti (plaintiff) was a swordfisherman who began swordfishing in 1979. From 1985, Conti harvested swordfish in the Atlantic Swordfish Fishery using drift gillnets from his vessel, the Providenza. In 1986, Conti received a permit from the National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Act to harvest swordfish. Conti was not allowed to assign, sell, or transfer the permit. The permit did not confer exclusive fishing privileges on permit holders. Further, the government retained the right to revoke, suspend, or modify the permit. The Magnuson-Stevens Act explicitly stated that the United States Department of Commerce was permitted to limit or terminate the permit system without compensation to permit holders and that the issuance of a permit created no right or interest in any fish. In 1999, the government implemented a permanent ban on fishing with drift gillnets. Conti and his company, Conti Corporation (plaintiff) filed suit against the United States (defendant). Conti argued that the government’s ban on drift gillnets entitled Conti to compensation under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution because the ban deprived Conti of all economic value in his permit, his vessel, and his fishing gear. The Court of Federal Claims granted the government’s motion to dismiss because Conti failed to assert a valid takings claim. Conti appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Schall, J.)

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