Ignorance of Partial Taking Law Is No Excuse? Well, Sometimes It Can Be0
The case is actually as intriguing as its name, though certainly it is more fun to pronounce it than to read the Supreme Court decision in its long winded entirety. Cheating and reading the case summary Palazzolo on its surface blessed us with a rule that may be a most useful arrow in the quiver of an adroit partial taking attorney. It a goes something like this: if you buy land after a rule is in place that says you can’t develop it, you can still challenge it as a taking because you can’t develop it. What?
The Court it all of its high haughtiness gives its complicated reasons for the rule as always; not doing so would be putting a statute of limitations on a constitutional right, ruling otherwise would discriminate owners at the time of the developing law was set in place, etc. Yet, this is a Supreme blunder because, underneath the ornate language and reasoning the court is just saying that even if you didn’t know a law was going to forbid you from developing land, it’s okay, because a partial taking lawyer could still challenge it if he or she knew! You can challenge a regulatory taking even if you bought land before the regulation took effect! Of course, landowners are more likely to be elite members of society, and due to their vulnerable position (adding mountains of sarcasm) it makes sense why the Court is always bending over backwards to help them out.