Pratt v. State, Department of Natural Resources

309 N.W.2d 767 (1981)

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Pratt v. State, Department of Natural Resources

Minnesota Supreme Court
309 N.W.2d 767 (1981)

SC

Facts

Sheldon Pratt (plaintiff) owned riparian rights to three lakes on which he harvested rice with a mechanical picker. His use of a mechanical picker made harvesting quicker and thus more profitable than harvesting rice by hand. In 1973, the State of Minnesota (defendant) reclassified the three lakes as public property. A Minnesota statute prohibited the use of mechanical pickers to harvest rice on public property. The statute was implemented to preserve a traditional wild rice harvest for Minnesota Indians, and to conserve wild rice as a natural resource. Pratt sued the state, claiming that the lakes were private property. The trial court held that the lakes were properly reclassified as public, but that this reclassification constituted a compensable taking of Pratt’s land. The state appealed. The state acknowledged that the nature of the lakes was such that they had little economic value other than for harvesting rice.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Simonett, J.)

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