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Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection

United States Supreme Court
130 S.Ct. 2592 (2010)


Facts

The City of Destin and Walton County in the State of Florida applied for permits from the Department of Environmental Protection (defendant) required by the state’s Beach and Shore Restoration Act (the Act) to place large deposits of sand and sediment, along 6.9 miles of submerged beach. Under the statute, the sudden and large addition of sand and sediment, known as avulsion, removed littoral owners’ property rights to accretions, or gradual additions of sand built up over time. After unsuccessfully challenging the legality of the statute at an administrative hearing, Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc., (SBR), a non-profit group of littoral owners, challenged the beach restoration project in the state court of appeals. The appellate court held for SBR, concluding the project was an unconstitutional taking of littoral owners’ property rights in violation of the Fifth Amendment and certified the issue for review by the Florida Supreme Court. The state’s supreme court reversed and held the Act did not unconstitutionally deprive littoral owners of any property rights. SBR filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court claiming the Florida Supreme Court’s decision, by itself, constituted a “judicial taking” of  their property rights. The Court granted certiorari to review.

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Concurrence (Breyer, J.)

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