449 U.S. 971 (1980)

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U.S. Supreme Court


449 U.S. 971

No. 80-137

Supreme Court of the United States

November 3, 1980 Rehearing Denied Jan. 12, 1981.

See 449 U.S. 1104.

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice REHNQUIST, dissenting.

More than half a century ago, this Court observed that "[t]he settled policy of Congress, in authorizing the taking of land and appurtenances, has been to limit the right to compensation to interests in the land taken ." Mitchell v. United States, 267 U.S. 341, 346, 294 (1925). In 1970, however, Congress enacted the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act, wherein it declared its purpose to "establish a uniform policy for the fair and equitable treatment of persons displaced as a result of Federal and federally assisted programs in order that such persons shall not suffer disproportionate injuries as a result of programs designed for the benefit of the public as a whole." 84 Stat. 1895, 42 U.S.C. 4621. The substantive provisions of the Act provide for actual reasonable expenses in moving the condemnee, his business, his family, his farm, or other personal property, and actual reasonable expenses in searching for a replacement business or farm. The only substantive provisions of the Act dealing with state condemnations in general are carefully treated in 42 U. S.C. 4627 and 4630, which forbid the head of a "Federal agency" to approve a "grant to, or contract or agreement with, a State agency, under which Federal financial assistance will be available to pay all or part of the cost of any program or project . . . unless he receives satisfactory assurances from such State agency" that fair and reasonable relocation payments and assistance shall be provided to or for displaced persons, as are required to be provided by a federal agency under the earlier sections of the Act.

Page 449 U.S. 971 , 972

We may expect frequent interaction between the Federal and State Governments such as is contemplated by the Act, and the fact that this case raises serious questions under the Act concerning federal jurisdiction would lead me to grant certiorari.

Beaird-Poulan, a corporation engaged in the manufacture of chain saws, owned a 16.5-acre tract of land in Louisiana. It operated plant facilities on the front portion of this tract, while the rest consisted of unimproved timberland not used for business purposes in any way. In May 1971 the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) expropriated a 3-acre section of the unused portion of the tract for construction of Interstate 220, a federally assisted highway project. Beaird-Poulan moved some of its facilities to a new plant location after the expropriation, and filed suit against DOTD and the United States Secretary of Transportation in Federal District Court to recover its moving expenses. It alleged that its action arose under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act, 42 U.S.C . 4601 et seq. Pursuant to 4630 Louisiana had enacted its own Relocation Assistance Act, La.Rev.Stat.Ann. 38:3101-3110 (West Supp. 1980).

The United States District Court, after preliminary litigation as to the meaning of the Louisiana Constitution, ordered respondent to submit its claim to petitioner, and ordered that petitioner conduct a full, fair, and complete adversary hearing, retaining "jurisdiction of this case to review the administrative determination." After considering respondent's claim petitioner denied it both because the state legislation was not in effect when the claim arose, and because respondent did not qualify as a displaced person.

Beaird-Poulan did not seek either rehearing or review of the DOTD decision in state court 1 but rather filed a motion in Federal District Court stating that it was "aggrieved by the administrative determination . . . and desires that this Court [449 U.S. 971 , 973]

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