Norfolk Redev. Auth. v. C. & P. Tel. Co.,
464 U.S. 30 (1983)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Norfolk Redev. Auth. v. C. & P. Tel. Co., 464 U.S. 30 (1983)

Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority v.

Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Virginia

No. 81-2332

Argued October 3, 1983

Decided November 1, 1983

464 U.S. 30


Respondent Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. of Virginia (C&P) was required to relocate some of its transmission facilities by reason of a street realignment resulting from federally funded urban renewal projects carried out in Norfolk, Va., by petitioner Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA), a political subdivision of the State. C&P sought reimbursement from NRHA for the expenses incurred in this relocation, claiming that it was a "displaced person" within the meaning of the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (Act), which provides in 42 U.S.C. § 4622(a)(1) that any person displaced from his home or place of business by a federal or federally funded project is entitled to relocation benefits, including reimbursement for the "actual reasonable expenses in moving himself, his family, business, farm operation, or other personal property." After receiving administrative rejections, C&P sued NRHA in Federal District Court, which denied relief. The Court of Appeals reversed.

Held: C&P is not a "displaced person" within the meaning of the Act. The Act did not change the long-established common law principle that a utility forced to relocate from a public right-of-way must do so at its own expense. An analysis of the Act -- the purposes of which were to ensure that persons displaced by federal and federally funded programs would receive uniform treatment and would not suffer disproportionate injuries as a result of programs designed for the benefit of the public as a whole -- and of its legislative history, particularly as it relates to the relocation provisions of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968 as a model for the provisions at issue here, shows that, in passing the Act, Congress addressed the needs of residential and business tenants and owners, and did not deal with the separate problem posed by the relocation of utility service lines. Pp. 464 U. S. 34-43.

674 F.2d 298, reversed.

Page 464 U. S. 31

REHNQUIST, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which all other Members joined, except POWELL, J., who took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

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