In a big change affecting property owners, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that people whose land is taken for public use without payment may, as soon as the property is taken, file federal lawsuits for constitutional violations of property rights.
The high court revisited the question of whether property owners have standing to bring §1983 claims under the Fifth Amendment in federal court when a taking occurs, or if they must exhaust all state court remedies first.
The court in June overturned a long-standing requirement that property owners must pursue all options for compensation in state court before bringing federal claims, saying owners may bring claims right away even if state courts have not considered the issue of just compensation.
The old requirement had been in place for nearly 35 years. The new decision found that the rule made it too difficult for property owners to exercise their rights under the federal takings clause.
The court also said the rule presented unfair obstacles that did not exist for people looking to bring §1983 claims based on other constitutional protections.
The decision makes it much easier for property owners to sue for federal relief.