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Murr v. Wisconsin

United States Supreme Court
137 S. Ct. 1933 (2017)


Wisconsin (defendant) set a minimum lot size, below which development on the St. Croix River was prohibited. The rule’s grandfather clause did not apply to adjacent lots under common ownership. The Murrs (plaintiffs) controlled two adjacent tracts of land on the river. The Murrs owned one of the tracts, and the Murrs’ company owned the other. One of the lots (Lot E) was undeveloped and below the rule’s minimum lot size. Both tracts were narrow and contained a bluff and a steep bank to the river, making much of the tracts hard to develop. The company conveyed its lot to the Murrs, effectively merging the lots for development purposes under the rule, which prohibited development on Lot E. The value of the combined lot was greater than the value of the combined individual lots. The Murrs sued Wisconsin, claiming that the rule constituted a regulatory taking because the Murrs were unable to develop Lot E individually. The circuit court granted Wisconsin summary judgment. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed. The Wisconsin Supreme Court denied review. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

Dissent (Roberts, C.J.)

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