Monday, January 23, 2012

Hearts Bluff Game Ranch, Inc. v. U.S.

Jan 19: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, Case No. 2010-5164. Appealed from the United States Court of Federal Claims. The Appeals Court explains that Hearts Bluff Game Ranch, Inc. (Hearts Bluff) appeals from the decision of the United States Court of Federal Claims (the Claims Court) dismissing its claim for just compensation under the Fifth Amendment for an alleged taking based on the Army Corps of Engineers' (the Corps') denial of Hearts Bluff's proposal to operate a mitigation bank on its property. Hearts Bluff Game Ranch, Inc. v. United States, No. 09-498L (Ct. Cl. June 11, 2010) (the Order). The Appeals Court ruled, "Because Hearts Bluff did not have a cognizable property interest in obtaining a mitigation banking instrument, we affirm."
    The Appeals Court ruled further, "As for Hearts Bluff's assertion that the denial of the mitigation banking instrument was arbitrary and capricious, that issue is not before us. Hearts Bluff brought suit under the Tucker Act, a concession that the government action was valid. Tabb Lakes, Ltd. v. United States, 10 F.3d 796, 802 (Fed. Cir. 1993) ('[The] claimant must concede the validity of the government action which is the basis of the taking claim to bring suit under the Tucker Act.'). In order to challenge the legality of the denial of the mitigation banking instrument, Hearts Bluff would have had to sue in a district court under the Administrative Procedure Act. Crocker v. United States, 125 F.3d 1475, 1476 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (The Court of Federal Claims 'lacks the general federal question jurisdiction of the district courts, which would allow it to review [an] agency's actions and to grant relief pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act.'). It did not."
    Access the complete opinion (click here). [#Water, #CAFed]

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