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Dismissal of Takings Clause Claim Ordered

By FindLaw Staff on April 28, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Fideicomiso de la Tierra del Cano Martin Pena v. Fortuno, No. 09-2569, the Fourth Circuit dealt with plaintiff's Takings Clause claim, challenging a legislative amendment revoking the transfer of public agencies' lands to plaintiff and mandating return of the lands to public ownership through agencies of the Commonwealth and municipalities.

As stated in the decision: "Public policy disagreements about the best of several rational means to accomplish legitimate public purposes are not the grist of a Takings Clause claim.  When the legislature's purpose is legitimate and its means are not irrational, empirical debates over the wisdom of takings are not to be carried out in the federal courts."

Thus, the court dismissed the suit in concluding that a federal court cannot conclude Law 32 was an illegitimate means of advancing public purpose, not least because transfers of private property to public ownership have been upheld since the founding of the country. 

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