LUCAS v. SOUTH CAROLINA COAST COUNCIL

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
91-453
Petitioner 
Lucas
Respondent 
South Carolina Coast Council
Advocates
(on behalf of the Respondent)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

In 1986, Lucas bought two residential lots on the Isle of Palms, a South Carolina barrier island. He intended to build single-family homes as on the adjacent lots. In 1988, the state legislature enacted a law which barred Lucas from erecting permanent habitable structures on his land. The law aimed to protect erosion and destruction of barrier islands. Lucas sued and won a large monetary judgment. The state appealed.

Question 

Does the construction ban depriving Lucas of all economically viable use of his property amount to a "taking" calling for "just compensation" under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments?

Conclusion 
Decision: 6 votes for Lucas, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Takings Clause

Yes. In a 6-to-2 decision, the Court relied on the trial court's finding that Lucas's lots had been rendered valueless by the state law. "[W]hen the owner of real property has been called upon to sacrifice all economically beneficial uses in the name of the common good...he has suffered a taking."

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LUCAS v. SOUTH CAROLINA COAST COUNCIL. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 12 November 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1991/1991_91_453>.
LUCAS v. SOUTH CAROLINA COAST COUNCIL, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1991/1991_91_453 (last visited November 12, 2014).
"LUCAS v. SOUTH CAROLINA COAST COUNCIL," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed November 12, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1991/1991_91_453.