Appeals Court: JANICE SMYTH v. CONSERVATION COMMISSION of FALMOUTH

KeywordsEminent Domain, Jury trial, What constitutes taking. Constitutional Law, Eminent domain, Taking of property, Trial by jury. Practice, Civil, Eminent domain proceeding, Jury trial, Judgment notwithstanding verdict

[Excerpt] – “A land owner brought this action in the Superior Court, claiming that local land use regulation effected a taking of her property, requiring just compensation under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and art. 10 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.  This appeal presents a question of first impression in Massachusetts:  whether the land owner is entitled to have her regulatory taking claim decided by a jury.  We conclude that the jury right does not attach to such a claim, and that the judge erred in denying the defendants’ motion to submit only the question of damages to a jury.  We further conclude that the evidence presented at the trial did not, as matter of law, support a claim of regulatory taking.  We accordingly reverse the judgment in the plaintiff’s favor and direct that judgment enter for the defendants.”         Click here for the full text of the Appeals Court’s decision.

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